Islamabad [Pakistan]- Former Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan on Tuesday said that general elections must be held in the country under the supervision of a neutral chief election commissioner (CEC), reported local media.
Claiming that the “selected” government has been imposed on the masses through planning and plotting, he said that an election must be held as soon as possible, otherwise, democracy will suffer a huge blow, reported Geo News.
Khan, however, added that the polls should be conducted under the supervision of a suitable chief election commissioner (CEC). Notably, this comes after last week he called CEC Sikandar Sultan Raja PML-N’s agent.
Dismissing the allegations of his government being incompetent, he said, “We had been hearing those remarks for three-and-a-half years. My only demand is to conduct the election under the chairmanship of a neutral CEC. Let the people decide [the country’s fate].”
Further, reiterating that the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf’s (PTI) government was toppled through a conspiracy, he said that a commission should be formed under the chairmanship of the chief justice of Pakistan to probe the matter.
“A sitting prime minister has been ousted through a conspiracy, therefore, all state institutions should look into the matter as it has turned out to be a huge setback for the country,” the media outlet quoted him as saying.
Speaking on the involvement of the US in ensuring his ouster through the no-confidence motion, he said that he is not anti-America or any other country.
“The United States often instigates regime change for its own benefits, not for the benefit of the countries involved,” he said, claiming that he knows every character involved in the conspiracy.
“I have proof against people who had been frequently visiting the US embassy in Pakistan. Hussain Haqqani had a meeting with Nawaz Sharif in London where they hatched this conspiracy,” he added.
Notably, PTI has staged several protests across the country against the United States for an alleged “foreign conspiracy” to oust Imran Khan from power who has been unseated after the no-confidence vote initiated by the Opposition was carried in the National Assembly. (ANI)
Islamabad [Pakistan]- Pakistan, which is grappling with an economic slump, has secured a “sizeable package” of around USD 8 billion from Saudi Arabia during the visit of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, reported local media.
The USD 8 billion package includes a doubling of the oil financing facility, additional money either through deposits or Sukuks, and rolling over of the existing USD 4.2 billion facilities, reported The News International.
“However, technical details are being worked out and will take a couple of weeks to get all documents ready and signed,” the media outlet quoted the top official sources privy to the development as saying.
Notably, Shehbaz Sharif and his official entourage have left Saudi Arabia but Pakistan Finance Minister Miftah Ismail is still staying there to finalize the modalities of the increased financial package.
“Just said goodbye to Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and other colleagues at Jeddah Airport, who are on their way to Islamabad after a brief stopover in Abu Dhabi to meet Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Zayed. I remain in SA to meet Saudi officials and start technical-level talks,” tweeted Ismail.
According to the official, Pakistan’s proposal of doubling the oil facility from USD 1.2 billion to USD 2.4 billion was accepted by Saudi Arabia, which also agreed that the existing deposits of USD 3 billion would be rolled over for an extended period up to June 2023.
“Pakistan and Kingdom of Saudi Arabia discussed an additional package of over USD 2 billion either through deposits or Sukuk and it is likely that even more money will be provided to Islamabad,” the media outlet quoted the official sources which added that the size of the total package would be determined after additional money was finalized.
Earlier in December 2021, Saudi Arabia had provided USD 3 billion deposits to the State Bank of Pakistan and also provided Pakistan with USD 100 million to procure oil after the Saudi oil facility was operationalized in March 2022.
Under the Imran Khan government, Saudi Arabia provided Pakistan a package of USD 4.2 billion, including USD 3 billion deposits and a USD 1.2 billion oil facility for one year.
Meanwhile, amid a combination of internal and external challenges of unpredictable tenure in Pakistan, the Ministry of Finance on Friday forecasted tough days ahead — including rising inflation, expanding current account deficit, higher fiscal deficit and dampening economic growth prospects.
According to the Finance Ministry, high international commodity prices not only keep inflation elevated, but they are also a burden on Pakistan’s external account and hence on its foreign exchange reserves, Dawn reported.
Moreover, economic activities in Pakistan’s main trading partners continue to remain slightly above the trend as some slowdown has been observed due to geopolitical uncertainty and a surge in commodity prices. If these tensions continue, the country’s growth may be affected as well. (ANI)
Karachi [Pakistan]: Three Chinese nationals were among the four persons killed in a car explosion inside the premises of the University of Pakistan in Karachi on Tuesday, according to media reports citing sources.
As per Geo TV, the blast took place at 1:52 pm in a van near Confucius Institute — a Chinese language teaching centre at Karachi University.
Following the blast, rescue and security agencies reached the location and cordoned off the areas, initiating rescue operations, the media outlet reported.
As per Geo TV, the deceased Chinese nationals have been identified as the director of the Confucius Institute Huang Guiping, Ding Mupeng, Chen Sai, and their Pakistani driver Khalid.
Two of the injured have been identified as Chinese national Wang Yuqing and a guard named Hamid. Meanwhile, three people are said to be in critical condition, as per sources.
As per police sources, there were seven to eight people in the van; however, the exact number of casualties is yet to be reported.
Last year, nine Chinese nationals were killed in a blast in Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhawa.
Pakistan’s Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD) has claimed to have arrested two men for their alleged involvement in the blasts on a bus carrying Chinese nationals in Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhawa in August and in Lahore’s Johar Town in the last week of June 2021.
Beijing has also stepped in to probe this bus attack. The Chinese forces were allowed to investigate this matter despite the fact that the previous Imran Khan government repeatedly stated that it won’t allow foreign security set up on its land. (ANI)
Dubai [UAE]: The International Cricket Council (ICC) on Friday confirmed Wasim Khan has been appointed as ICC General Manager of Cricket and will take up his post next month.
Khan who was previously the Chief Executive of the Pakistan Cricket Board, Leicestershire County Cricket Club and Chance to Shine, will take over from Geoff Allardice who spent eight years in the role before being appointed as the ICC CEO.
Allardice said: “I am delighted to welcome Wasim to the ICC. He brings an in-depth knowledge of our sport and its stakeholders and his firsthand experience of the international cricket landscape will be of enormous benefit as we implement the ICC global growth strategy and move forward into a new events cycle.”
Khan added: “I am honoured to be joining the ICC, I can’t wait to get started and work in partnership with our Members to strengthen and grow our sport. I’m particularly excited by the ICC’s commitment to the growth of the women’s game, and I look forward to playing my part in really accelerating that growth over the next decade.” (ANI)
Kabul [Afghanistan]: Over 40 Afghan civilians, including children, were killed after Pakistani aircraft launched airstrikes in different parts of Khost and Kunar provinces on Friday night, according to Habib Khan, a journalist and the founder of Afghan peace watch, Afghanistan’s independent peace watchdog.
Condemning the incident on Twitter, Khan said, “For the first time ever, Pakistani military aircrafts bombarded Afghan soil under the Taliban, killing more than 40 civilians. Though, Pakistan has been killing Afghans through her proxy forces, the Taliban and Mujahideen, for decades.”
Khan also shared a picture of the corpses of the people killed in the incident and called the International criminal court and Amnesty International to take note of Pakistani war crimes in Afghanistan.
The local officials on Saturday of the Khost and Kunar provinces confirmed that the Pakistani aircraft launched the airstrikes on different parts of the provinces.
Following the incident, the Taliban summoned Pakistan’s ambassador Mansoor Ahmad Khan to convey concerns to the Pakistan government over the incident.
According to the country’s foreign ministry, the Afghan acting minister of foreign affairs, Amir Khan Muttaqi and the acting deputy defence minister Alhaj Mullah Shirin Akhund were present in the meeting and condemned the attacks by Pakistani forces.
“Pakistani Ambassador to Kabul Summoned to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, today. Along with the IEA Foreign Minister Mawlawi Amir Khan Muttaqi, the session also included Deputy Defense Minister Alhaj Mullah Shirin Akhund where the Afghan side condemned the recent,” it tweeted.
Meanwhile, according to analysts, the attacks indicate Pakistan’s direct interference and violation of Afghan national sovereignty, reported ToloNews.
“The airstrikes and ground operations conducted by the Pakistan forces alongside the (Durand Line) in Khost and Kunar are an obvious violation and interference in Afghan airspace and territory,” the media outlet quoted Sadeq Shinwari, a political analyst, as saying. (ANI)
Kabul [Afghanistan]: Contrary to its claim that the Taliban will not allow Afghanistan or the weapons to be used for terrorism, the group has been reportedly accused of smuggling weapons to Pakistan, which eventually may be used in cross-border skirmishes against India.
“Taliban has been insisting that there are proper security checks to prevent any weapons smuggling because they are an improved Taliban. But the weapons market is thriving and the weapons that are being smuggled into Pakistan will eventually be used in cross-border skirmishes against India and make their way into India,” according to a Canada-based think tank, International Forum for Rights and Security (IFFRAS) said.
But before that Pakistan will have to pay a huge price if it does not control illicit arms trafficking. Ultimately it is going to suffer first when the separatist and terrorist organisations operating from its land get a hand on these weapons on a large scale, it warned.
In August 2021, the US left much of the military equipment and weapons at the disposal of the Afghan forces which eventually fell into the hands of the Taliban.
After capturing Kabul, Taliban not only took political control of Afghanistan but had also gained control of all the US-made weapons and military equipment that were left behind by the fleeing Afghan forces.
The US-made arms and military accessories are openly traded in shops by Afghan gun dealers. The traffickers are collecting the weapons from the abandoned Afghan army bases, and procuring them from the Afghan government soldiers and Taliban fighters. These weapons are then mostly sold in weapons markets or arms bazaar in tribal areas of the Afghan-Pakistan border, it added.
The arms smugglers in Pakistan’s borders are having a field day. The weapons from Afghanistan are smuggled into Pakistan in trucks carrying fruits and vegetables. The main points of entry through which the arms are smuggled are Torkham border crossing Torkham (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa), Chaman (Baluchistan), Ghulam Khan (North Waziristan) and Nawa Pass (Bajaur), it said.
Meanwhile, Afghanistan is the prime source of opium supply to the world drug markets and Pakistan is the transport hub with drug networks operating from the country using its drug routes to reach international markets, according to an article in Islam Khabar.
The article said the geographical location of Pakistan makes it one of the prominent drug transit points along the Southern route. It said Pakistan is also depending on the narcotic trade for sponsoring terror in India.
Pakistan shares 2400 kilometres of border with Afghanistan, which is largely porous. And this has served a transit corridor for drug traffickers. Forty per cent of Afghan drugs transit Pakistan before they reach the international markets.
Tonnes of opiates and meth are trafficked from Afghanistan to the Torkham border crossing, Ghulam Khan in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, from where they are sent to Lahore and Faisalabad, reassembled into huge consignments, the article said.
Then they are transported to Karachi and Gwadar, and fishing vessels in Makran coast are used for drugs transport to the South Asian markets. Balochistan has also been an important drug transit route in Pakistan.
Islam Khabar said around 60 alternative drug routes are working through the Balochistan province alone, with major areas being Chaman, Noshki, Chagaghi, Dalbandeen, Panjgor, Turbat, Gawadar and Jeewani. (ANI)
Karachi [Pakistan]: A survey in Pakistan found that 57 per cent of respondents were happy over the exit of Imran Khan as Prime Minister of the country.
The new Gallup Survey was conducted through telephonic and random digital dialing, from 1,000 households from April 10-11, reported The News International.
A polarising trend of opinion has emerged as a result of the survey with 57 per cent of respondents expressing happiness over the Imran Khan-led Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) government’s departure.
Of these, 71 per cent were happy with the change of government. They said that Imran Khan’s government caused record inflation and increased poverty.
The economy of Pakistan was in tatters as people had to burn purses to purchase daily food items. The country witnessed a shortage of flour, rocketing tomatoes prices, and sugar prices. Not only that, the rate of poverty was at its zenith under the Imran Khan regime.
Pakistan’s financial condition was in a precarious situation under the inefficient leadership of its Prime Minister Imran Khan.
As reported on February 28, the country’s former finance minister and well-known economist Dr Hafeez A Pasha disclosed that the current account deficit was heading towards a historic record by touching the USD 20 billion mark or 6 per cent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for the current fiscal year.
As many as 10 per cent of this group hold the PTI government responsible for failure to provide relief to the poor, three per cent declared Imran Khan as not a good leader, two per cent thought the previous government was better, and another two per cent thought he failed to deliver on his promises, reported The News International.
One per cent of those thought he was not fit for the job and suggested him to quit politics. Another one per cent expressed happiness over his exit from the government for the gross mismanagement of the economy that led to an increase in fuel prices.
Meanwhile, another group of 43 per cent respondents have shown displeasure with Imran Khan’s departure.
Among the latter group, 25 per cent were upset over removing Imran despite his personal integrity, 18 per cent declared him as the best leader, another 15 per cent say they like Imran Khan, while 13 per cent were dismayed over not letting the PTI government complete its full constitutional term and 10 per cent of these thought that he did a good job for the country, reported The News International.
Four per cent said they were sad because they felt Imran Khan was a sincere leader, four were are grossly unhappy over the return of corrupt leadership into power, three per cent expressed satisfaction with the former PM for initiating welfare programmes for the poor and two per cent were upset over an ‘external power’ conspiring to remove a popularly-elected leader.
The Pakistani parliament ousted Imran Khan in a vote of no confidence in the early hours of Sunday, April 10.
As many as 174 lawmakers in the 342-strong lower house of parliament voted in favour of the no-confidence motion launched by opposition parties. (ANI)
Islamabad[Pakistan], April 12(ANI): Pakistan’s newly-elected Prime Minister, Shehbaz Sharif is likely to finalise his cabinet ministers by Tuesday night, local media reported.
According to The News International, Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari is likely to be appointed as the next foreign minister of Pakistan and slots are also being discussed for Shazia Marri.
Rana Sanaullah is expected to be given the portfolio of the Interior Ministry and Maryam Aurangazeb could be the next information minister.
Members of the Pakistan Muslim League, Khawaja Asif, Khurram Dastgir, Saad Rafique, Murtaza Javed, and Shaista Pervaiz Malik are some of the eminent personalities considered to be included in the cabinet with names like Aslam Bhootani and Mohsin Dawar doing the rounds as independent candidates.
The members of all the Opposition parties who voted against Imran Khan are also expected to represent Sharif’s cabinet. Before announcing his cabinet members, the Prime Minister will be meeting Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, chairman of the Pakistan People’s Party, Maulana Fazlur Rehman, the chief of PDM, and other political leaders of the party, reported News International.
According to speculations Azam Nazir Tarar can be elected as the Leader of the House while either Sherry Rehman or Mustafa Nawaz one will gain a seat in the ministry.
The political party, Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam(JUI-F) has urged Prime Minister Sharif to elect someone from their party as the next governor of Balochistan, while Punjab’s governor should be elected from Pakistan People’s Party and that of Sindh from Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan(MQM-P).
In his one of his first decisions as PM, Shehbaz Sharif scrapped two weekly offs for government offices and changed government office timings to 8 am instead of 10 am.
Shehbaz Sharif took oath as the 23rd Prime Minister of Pakistan on Monday after being elected by the National Assembly of the country. (ANI)
New Delhi [India]: The Pakistani disinformation machinery has gone into overdrive with thousands of provocative tweets under various hashtags. The tweets, mostly from Pakistan and Afghanistan, aim at disturbing the peace and tranquillity of India.
Under the disinformation campaign, fake information is being posted on Twitter handles like @Babar_7860; @FMQureshipk; @ihtk1; @raufburrio; @ideowarrior; @zahrakhanpak911; @Abebeellan; @akhirhashmi159 and @rakibpatrkar to sow the seeds of hatred.
One such Twitter handle is that of Babar Malik (@Babar_7860) a Pakistani, who claims to be a journalist.
There is another Pakistani Twitter handle @fmqureshipk which has also been spewing venom against India.
Another account spreading similar lies is @ihtjk1.
All these posts are focused on provoking, disturbing the harmony of India.
Pakistan whose own house is on fire is leading the vicious campaign against India to deflect any questioning of misgovernance by its citizens.
Moreover, Pakistan, which has never shied away from denouncing other nations for atrocities against Muslims, has conveniently ignored the issue of violation of Uyghur human rights in Xinjiang.
It champions the cause of Muslims in India but has a dismal record of its own minorities in the country.
In Pakistan, minorities like Hindus, Christians, Ahmaddiyas, and Shias are frequently harassed and persecuted. The country has witnessed an unprecedented rise in attacks and arrests against the Shia minority, who make up between 15 per cent and 20 per cent of the Sunni-majority nation.
The United Kingdom’s All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Pakistani minorities has severely criticized the role of Islamabad in a steadily deteriorating human rights situation of minorities in the country.
A 67-page report, which called the human rights situation in Pakistan a national and international tragedy, highlighted all forms of atrocities that the minorities of Pakistan were being subjected to on an everyday basis.
It said that even after over seventy years of independence, abductions of minority girls, their forced conversions and subsequent marriages were a widespread phenomenon in Pakistan.
Also, there are numerous cases of the state brazenly defending those who have been involved in heinous crimes against minorities and going after the victims. And it is because of such a state of affairs in Pakistan that a number of experts around the world have said that Pakistan is the most unsafe country for women as well as minorities under the sun.
According to Human Rights Watch, “Minorities continue to face violence, discrimination, and persecution, with authorities often failing to provide adequate protection or hold perpetrators to account”. The authorities routinely use draconian counterterrorism and sedition laws to intimidate peaceful critics, reported Daily Times. (ANI)
Islamabad [Pakistan] : Mumbai terror attack mastermind Hafiz Saeed was on Friday sentenced to 31 years in jail by a Pakistan anti-terrorism court.
The court also imposed a fine of PKR 3,40,000 on the UN-designated terrorist who is co-founder of the Lashkar-e-Toiba terror outfit, local media reported.
The sentence was handed out by Ejaz Ahmad Buttar, Judge, Lahore Anti-Terrorism court under various sections of Pakistan’s Anti-terrorism Act, 1997.
“This is to authorize and require you, the said Superintendent to receive the said convict Hafiz Muhammad Saeed s/o Kamal Din into your custody in the said jail, with this warrant and to keep him there safely until you receive further warrant or order of this court, carrying into effect the order of the court according to law,” the warrant of commitment of sentence read.
Hafiz Saeed has been in Lahore central jail since his sentencing in 2020 in a terror funding case.
Pakistan has been on the grey list of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) for failing to check money laundering leading to terror financing.
Hafiz Saeed, the founder of the terror organization Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) is a United Nations designated terrorist, who is the mastermind of Mumbai terror attack in November 2008. He heads the Jamaat-ud-Dawa terror outfit. (ANI)
Islamabad [Pakistan]: Amid the ongoing political turmoil in the country, the President’s Secretariat has asked the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to propose dates for the general elections.
As per a press release shared by Pakistan President Arif Alvi on Twitter, in a letter dated April 5, the President’s Secretariat has asked the ECP to propose dates for holding general elections within ninety days from the date of dissolution of the National Assembly, that is April 3, in accordance with the provisions of the country’s constitution.
“ECP has been conveyed that clause 5 (A) of the Article 48 and clause 2 of Article 224 of the Constitution provide that the President shall appoint a date, not later than ninety days from the date of dissolution of the National Assembly, for holding general elections to the National Assembly,” read the release.
It further said that as per the Elections Act 2017, a consultation with the ECP is required to announce the date of general elections.
On Sunday, Alvi dissolved the Pakistani parliament following Prim Minister Imran Khan’s advice. Imran Khan made the proposal minutes after Parliament’s Deputy Speaker rejected a motion of no confidence in him as “unconstitutional.”
Meanwhile, Imran Khan will continue as the Prime Minister until the caretaker Prime Minister is appointed, said the President as the SC is looking into the matter of National Assembly dissolution. (ANI)
Islamabad [Pakistan]- The Supreme Court of Pakistan adjourned Monday without ruling on the dissolution of parliament that has led to the ongoing political and constitutional crisis in the country.
A five-member bench resumed hearing on the case filed a day earlier when the Pakistani lawmakers were prevented from voting on the no-trust motion.
Pakistan Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial said that even if the speaker of the National Assembly cites Article 5 of the Constitution, the no-confidence motion cannot be rejected.
“Does the speaker not have any option to reject the no-trust motion? Are you saying that the speaker dishonestly rejected the no-confidence motion?” Bandial was quoted as saying by The News International newspaper.
Pakistan Justice Chief made the remarks while hearing the suo moto case related to the prevailing crisis in the country.
“The speaker cannot reject the no-confidence motion even if he refers to Article 5 of the constitution,” he said.
Justice Bandial further added that his fellow judges had expressed concern over the constitutional crisis the country was facing.
On Sunday, Pakistani President Arif Alvi dissolved the Pakistani parliament following Khan’s advice. Imran Khan made the proposal minutes after parliament’s deputy speaker rejected a motion of no confidence in him as “unconstitutional.”
The decision to cancel the no-confidence vote angered opposition parties, who said they would appeal the decision in court. Pakistani Information Minister Fawad Hussain had said a snap parliamentary election will be held within 90 days.
Pakistan media has criticised the dissolution of the National Assembly in the country, saying that whatever happened on Sunday violated all rules governing proceedings in the House, particularly those dealing with the motion of no-confidence.
In an editorial published on Monday, the Dawn newspaper said that Imran Khan could have played the political game like a true sportsperson and still emerged stronger from the loss given the sharp narrative he had spun leading up to the vote. (ANI)
Delhi: In quite a surprising move, Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan on Sunday stunned the Opposition by recommending fresh elections, within minutes of the dismissal of the no-trust motion against him in the Pakistan National Assembly.
The PM had addressed the nation after the parliament session was adjourned by the Deputy Speaker in the house. In his brief address, he said, “The nation should prepare for the new elections,” adding that the no-confidence was actually a “foreign agenda”. “I ask people to prepare for the next elections. Thank God, a conspiracy to topple the government has failed,” Khan said in his address.
Here is a 10 point cheat sheet to understand what is happening in Pakistan, and what will happen next
What happened in the Assembly: Deputy Speaker Qasim Suri dismissed the no-confidence motion moved by the Opposition against Prime Minister Khan, terming it against the Constitution and rules of Pakistan. “The no-confidence should be according to the Constitution of and rules of the country. Since it is not as pointed out by the Law Minister, so I reject the no-confidence motion,” Suri ruled, amid vociferous protest by Opposition lawmakers.
Elections will be held in Pakistan in 90 days: “Prepare for elections. No corrupt forces will decide what the future of the country will be. When the assemblies will be dissolved, the procedure for the next elections and the caretaker government will begin,” Pak’s 69-year-old cricketer-turned-politician PM said after the dismissal. Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting Farrukh Habib said that President Alvi has dissolved the National Assembly as per the advice of the prime minister. He said the election will be held within 90 days.
Imran Khan will continue as caretaker PM:Imran Khan will continue as the caretaker Prime Minister of the nation till the next elections.
Army versus the Govt: Pakistan army has denied any role in today’s developments in Pakistan national assembly. “Absolutely not. Whatever happened today, Army has no role in it,” said Babar Iftikhar, Director-General of Inter-Services Public Relations, in response to a question on Dissolution of National Assembly of Pakistan, this afternoon.
PM Imran Khan had skipped the assembly session today, despite deciding earlier to attend the session. His supporters were seen on the streets, protesting as he asked them to earlier.
Pakistan SC takes suo-moto notice of dissolution of national assembly: Pakistan Supreme Court takes suo-moto notice of dissolution of Assembly by President Arif Alvi. The opposition termed the entire process to reject no-confidence against the prime minister and dissolution of assembly against the constitution and its lawmakers refused to leave the premises of the parliament house. “We are going to challenge the ruling by the deputy speaker and advice by the prime minister to dissolve parliament in the Supreme Court,” said Shehbaz Sharif, Leader of the Opposition in the parliament. The combined opposition filed the no-confidence motion on March 8.
A US conspiracy?: Imran Khan claims the US is leading a conspiracy to remove him because of his criticism of US policy and other foreign policy decisions he has taken. Imran Khan may now ask for votes in the name of running an independent foreign policy till elections are held in the next 90 days.
The political turmoil also caused the country’s security agencies to lock down the capital of Islamabad. Giant metal containers blocked roads and entrances to the capital’s diplomatic enclave and to Parliament and other sensitive government installations in the capital. A defiant Khan had called for supporters to stage demonstrations countrywide.
Political chaos also spread to the country’s largest Punjab province where it is set to vote for a new chief minister. Khan’s choice faced a tough challenge and his opponents claimed they had enough votes to install their choice. With 60% of Pakistan’s 220 million people living in Punjab, it is considered the most powerful of the country’s four provinces.
Pakistan’s military has directly ruled Pakistan for more than half of its 75-year history, overthrowing successive democratically elected governments. For the remainder of that time it has indirectly manipulated elected governments from the sidelines. No PM had served a full term in the nation before.
Islamabad [Pakistan]: Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari on Wednesday said Imran Khan “has now lost majority” in the National Assembly and Leader of the Opposition Shahbaz Sharif will soon become the Prime Minister of the country.
Addressing a press conference ahead of the confidence vote which is expected to take place in the next few days, Bilawal Bhutto thanked Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) for joining hands with the opposition and deciding to support them to oust Imran Khan as Prime Minister in the no-confidence vote.
He said the voting should be held on Thursday.
“Imran Khan has now lost his majority. He is no longer the Prime Minister. The parliament session is tomorrow. Let’s hold voting tomorrow and settle this matter. We can then start working on transparent elections and the journey towards restoration of democracy and an end to economic crisis can then begin,” the PPP chairman said.
Bilawal Bhutto also said that Shahbaz Sharif, brother of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, “will soon” become the prime minister of the country.
“PPP and MQM-P’s working relation has nothing to do with the no-confidence motion. Both the parties have to work together for the development of Karachi and Pakistan,” he added.
The PPP chairman said Shehbaz Sharif has challenged the Pakistan Prime Minister to resign from office. “He (Imran Khan) has no option left. He can either resign or get dismissed via no-confidence,” Bilawal Bhutto.
Earlier on Tuesday, the ruling PTI got another shock as MQM-P, an ally of the government, decided to side with the opposition and support them in the no-confidence motion against Imran Khan.
After the no-confidence motion against Pakistan PM was tabled in the National Assembly with a total of 161 votes in favour, the proceedings were adjourned till March 31.
Even as Imran Khan faces mounting pressure with some allies leaving the ruling coalition ahead of the no-confidence vote, Pakistan Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry on Wednesday said the Pakistan Prime Minister will not resign.
“Prime Minister Imran Khan is a player who fights till the last ball. He will not get resignation,” Fawad Chaudhry said in a tweet in Urdu.
Imran Khan is in a precarious position, with the voting on the no-confidence motion expected on April 3. (ANI)
Islamabad [Pakistan]: Pakistan Interior Minister Sheikh Rasheed Ahmad on Tuesday announced that the discussion on the no-trust motion against Prime Minister Imran Khan will start in the National Assembly on March 31 and voting on it will be held on April 3.
The Minister gave the information while addressing a press conference in Islamabad. Rasheed reiterated his support with the Prime Minister and at the same time refuted any reports about any tussle in the PML-Q for its support to the ruling PTI government on the no-trust motion, reported The News International.
Rasheed praised PML-Q stance and said that he hoped MQM-P will also support the government. Sheikh Rasheed said that the security forces arrested four terrorists harbouring nefarious designs. He maintained that the arrested terrorists will be tried in anti-terrorism courts.
The Interior Minister said that after the peaceful public gathering, now the containers which were put for security have been removed and roads are cleared for traffic. He added that the massive crowd that gathered at the PM rally suggests that the entire country stands by the PM, reported the news portal.
After the no-confidence motion against Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan was tabled in the National Assembly with a total of 161 votes in favour, the proceedings were adjourned till March 31.
The no-confidence motion was submitted by the Opposition parties on March 8. The Opposition has been confident that its motion would be carried as many PTI lawmakers have come out in the open against PM Imran Khan. (ANI)
Islamabad [Pakistan]: The renaming of Pakistan’s Prime Minister’s Office YouTube channel has triggered speculation that the beleaguered Imran Khan may step down as Prime Minister at the public rally called by him in Islamabad on Sunday.
The rally is a show of strength by Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) as the opposition is geared up for a no-trust vote in the National Assembly to oust his government. Imran Khan faces mounting economic and social challenges as his government battles corruption allegations levelled by the opposition.
The change in the YouTube channel’s name on Saturday has raised eyebrows. The channel had a verified tick when it was named Prime Minister’s Office and has now been renamed ‘Imran Khan’.
Imran Khan has been hard-hitting in his counter-offensive at the opposition terming Pakistan oppositions “dacoits” and has urged people to come in large numbers to Islamabad’s Parade Ground on March 27.
“I want my people to come to Parade Ground tomorrow, tomorrow we will show a sea of people!” PTI said in a tweet referring to Imran Khan.
The political challenges have mounted for Imran Khan even as his government is negotiating with IMF on USD 6 billion rescue package and battling unemployment and price rise.
The no-confidence motion was submitted by opposition parties on March 8 after the PPP’s long march in Islamabad. The Opposition is confident that its motion would be carried as many PTI lawmakers have come out in the open against PM Imran Khan.
As the crucial no-confidence motion session inches closer and uncertainty continues to shroud political alliances, at least fifty ministers belonging to the ruling party have gone ‘missing’ from the political front, Express Tribune said on Friday citing sources.
More than 50 of the federal and provincial ministers have not been seen in public since the opposition began stacking up perils against Prime Minister Imran Khan, the report said.
Imran Khan had on Wednesday said he will not “resign under any circumstances” amid mounting pressure from the opposition.
“I will not resign under any circumstance. I will play till the last ball and I will surprise them a day before as they are still under pressure. My trump card is that I have not laid any of my cards yet,” he had said.
Najam Sethi, a Pakistani journalist, said that Imran Khan has no “surprise” to give on Sunday and his ‘mind games” are meant for the military establishment and the judiciary for “positive” results.
“Imran Khan has no “surprise” to give tomorrow. He is playing “mind games” (big jalsas, good vs evil, high moral ground, etc) of which he is a self-confessed master! These “mind games” are meant to prey on the Miltablishment and Judiciary for “positive” results!” Sethi said in a tweet.
According to Geo News, Khan had said earlier this week that he had good relations with the military. But Pakistan army seems to have lost trust in Khan over his stance leading to a stand-off over the appointment of the intelligence agency’s – ISI chief.
The Pakistani National Assembly has 342 members and Imran Khan needs the support of 172 members to prove his majority.
The PTI led coalition was formed with the support of 179 members – PTI (155 members) and four major allies MQM-P, Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q), Balochistan Awami Party (BAP) and Grand Democratic Alliance (GDA) having seven, five, five and three members respectively.
Imran Khan and his party members are trying every trick under their sleeves to avert turmoil.
After the move of the no-confidence motion against Imran Khan’s government got deferred to March 28 in the National Assembly, his party has intensified its efforts to woo its allies.
Opposition parties have said that Khan, who had come to power on the slogan of fighting corruption, was “found hiding crucial information” from the Election Commission of Pakistan regarding foreign funding case.
According to News International, The State Bank of Pakistan’s documents handed over to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) in the PTI foreign funding case show that information about transactions worth more than USD 2 million dollars from 14 different foreign countries and hundreds of millions rupees’ local transactions into the party’s bank accounts was not provided to the ECP authorities.
The report said the documents also show that Imran Khan’s PTI received USD 29,800 donations in 2013 from a businesswoman and her Pakistani American husband but their donation was also concealed from the ECP. (ANI)
Islamabad [Pakistan]: The Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) has amended its plan to hold a long march on March 27 in order to counter the Imran Khan government, local media reported.
PDM amended its plan after Imran Khan-led Pakistan Tareek-e-Insaf (PTI) government planned to hold a rally at Islamabad’s D-Chowk on March 27. However, the Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q), a key ally of the PTI-led government, has advised both the ruling party and the opposition to call off their rallies as they could lead to a violent clash, Dawn newspaper reported.
“The long march will enter Islamabad on March 27 and it may stay there for two or more days. The decision has been taken in the light of directives of the party leadership — Nawaz Sharif and Shehbaz Sharif,” Punjab Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N)’s secretary-general Sardar Awais Leghari said.
Last week, the PDM had put back the arrival of its march in Islamabad to March 25 from March 23 because of the OIC foreign ministers’ meeting, Dawn newspaper reported.
According to the schedule, the party will kick its trek from Lahore on March 24. Maryam Nawaz, the PML-N vice president, and Hamza Shehbaz will lead the cavalcade. It will reach Gujranwala the next day and stay there for the night.
On March 26, the activists will leave for Rawalpindi, where contingents from other parts of the country will reach the next day and leave together for Islamabad, the Pakistani newspaper reported.
On the other hand, Prime Minister Imran Khan has given a call to workers of his party to reach D-Chowk on March 27 for the country’s “biggest-ever rally”, Dawn newspaper reported. (ANI)
Islamabad [Pakistan]: Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) leaders have claimed that after the police raided Parliament Lodges last week, the Imran Khan-led Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf government is planning to ambush Sindh House in Islamabad.
The opposition leaders said that if anyone gets hurt, Prime Minister Imran Khan’s regime will be responsible for it, Geo News reported on Wednesday.
Islamabad Police on Thursday night stormed Parliament Lodges and made 19 arrests including key opposition members of the National Assembly, the highest legislative body of the country.
“The lives of MNAs, including women members, are not safe as the PTI-led government is hell-bent on terrorism, therefore, we [MNAs] had requested the Sindh government to provide the Sindh police security, said a joint statement released by PPP Member of the National Assembly (MNAs).
The PPP MNAs further stated that they had information that Imran Khan’s goons of “Tiger Force” were planning to attack Sindh House, Geo News reported.
“Therefore, if any PPP MNA or personal property is hurt, Imran Khan’s government will be responsible for this,” the statement said.
The development comes amid growing discontent against the Imran Khan government, with Pakistan’s main opposition parties filing a no-confidence motion against the Pakistan PM on Tuesday in the National Assembly. (ANI)
Islamabad [Pakistan]: Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan’s response to the no-confidence motion tabled against him and his government has been to get the police to act tough against several prominent lawmakers.
This could either mean that Imran Khan is over-confident of his own powers and survival, or he feels insecure and is working overtime to save himself. The question now is whether the no-confidence motion moved by the opposition has any chance of success, given the current level of support for Imran Khan from the Pakistan Army?
The more important question is, can the Army remain neutral in the political struggle unfolding in Pakistan? The answers remain hazy at this stage, but it is certain that the Pakistan Army will back Imran Khan.
The immediate result of the tabling of the no-confidence motion against PM Imran Khan was the raid by a police contingent (11 March 2022) on the Parliament Lodges to expel members of the Ansarul Islam, the volunteer force of the Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F).
This force had been invited to provide security to the opposition lawmakers. The police claimed to have arrested, during the operation, at least four legislators, along with two dozen Ansarul Islam volunteers. The other occurrence was that both the Opposition and the government and groups of dissenters have been in touch with each other in the aftermath of the no-confidence motion tabling.
PM Imran Khan’s immediate focus appeared to be Punjab, rather than the Federal dispensation because of the revolt within the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaaf (PTI) against the Punjab Chief Minister, Usman Buzdar. Khan spent the entire day (10 March) in Lahore meeting with his provincial Assembly members.
His presence in Lahore for the whole day was basically to bolster support for Chief Minister Buzdar. The catch here is that PM Khan cannot resolve the no-confidence issue without first solving the Punjab crisis. Many members of the ‘angry group’ within the PTI met Imran Khan and said that they had attended the Jahangir Tarin group and Aleem Khan Group meetings to convince them to come back to the party.
The ruling PTI coalition has a total of 179 members in the National Assembly, while the opposition claims to have the support of 162 members. It also claims to have the allegiance of 24 members of the ruling party, which could tilt the balance in favour of the opposition, as and when the motion is placed and voted upon in the National Assembly.
The tabling of the no-confidence motion, however, signals a degree of confidence within the opposition that they are ready to take on Imran Khan, already surrounded by a plethora of challenges, ranging from a sinking economy to a troubled security environment, with the TTP on the ascendant. While this may be so, the historical record shows that no government in power has ever been removed by a no-confidence motion.
What are the signs currently of dissidence within the PTI that could signal the likelihood of a shift in the power equation in Islamabad? The growing ranks of dissidents have worsened with the passage of time and the revolt against the Punjab Chief Minister signals the unravelling of the party that could also threaten the survival of the PTI government.
A major problem is that there is no consensus on any other candidate. The PML-Q will not accept anyone other than Pervaiz Elahi as the chief minister. With the no-confidence motion hanging over the head of the PTI government, the PML-Q has upped its stakes. The party’s bargaining position seems to have been further strengthened with the reported offer by the opposition to give the top provincial office to the PML-Q leader.
While the opposition has been galvanized somewhat by the tabling of the no-confidence motion, PM Imran Khan continues to use other means to muzzle his critics. The latest in this series is the passage in the National Assembly of the Prevention of Electronic Crimes (Amendment) Act (PECA) 2022 by Ordinance. The timing of this bill comes at a time when the ruling PTI government is faced with a no-confidence motion.
The new Act for instance, the ordinance, gives the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) powers to arrest anyone and put them in jail till the conclusion of the trial. Federal officers also have the authority to unlock any electronic device. Another provision open to gross abuse is the provision that the complainant doesn’t necessarily be the aggrieved person or institution; it can be any member of the public, making the new law open for abuse.
The PECA 2022 signals that PM Khan wants to ensure that there is no criticism levelled against him, especially when he is beleaguered politically on all sides. The new law, along with the Criminal Law (Amendment) Bill, 2020, that seeks to jail anyone who “ridicules or brings into disrepute or defames the military” has made life difficult for journalists, human rights activists, and social media champions.
Imran Khan knows very well that a free press in Pakistan could very well turn criticism into political mileage. That is why the insistent on curbing media freedom and in the larger context an attempt to muzzle anything that remotely pulls up the military for its faults.
The tabling of the no-confidence motion against Prime Minister Imran Khan creates an uncertain political situation for Pakistan. Unfortunately, whatever the outcome of the motion, the net loser is Pakistan for political instability will persist. Pakistan’s economy is on a downward spiral and without doubt, the PTI government under Imran Khan is responsible for a large part of the problem.
If Imran Khan wins the vote, then he will be emboldened to continue on the path taken so far. If the opposition wins, then the selection of a prime ministerial candidate will occupy political space and time. In the meantime, the only beneficiary will be the Army. That is why it has been said that the Army has turned ‘neutral’ in the ongoing political crisis. But is this really so? (ANI)
Islamabad [Pakistan]: Ahead of a no-confidence motion against Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan by Opposition parties, Islamabad Police on Thursday night stormed Parliament Lodges and made 19 arrests including key opposition members of the National Assembly, the highest legislative body of the country.
Heavy contingents of police commandos and other law enforcement agencies gathered around the Parliament Lodges under the command of DIG (Operations), The News International reported.
“We tried to convince them that they could not enter the lodges, but the police personnel remained adamant and entered by force,” PMLN leader Khawaja Saad Rafique who was injured in the scuffle was quoted as saying.
The police action came after members of Ansarul Islam, a uniformed volunteer force set up to protect the leadership of the Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam (JUI-F), entered the Parliament Lodges in large numbers, reported Dawn.
JUI leader and Member of the National Assembly (MNA) Salahuddin Ayubi refused to accept the police’s demand saying that the Ansarul activists were their guests and legally staying with them.
Shortly afterward, clashes between Ayubi’s staff and police personnel erupted. Several Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PMLN) parliamentarians were also present in the lodges at the time, while JUI’s Maulana Fazlur Rehman also reached the venue, The News International said citing sources.
The DIG at the spot also instructed the officials to evacuate media personnel from the building as they made their way towards the lodge of MNA, Salahuddin Ayubi.
The police commandos broke into the suite of Salahuddin Ayubi and arrested activists of Ansarul Islam, dragged them out of the room, shifted them to the police prisoner vans and took them to an unknown place.
PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari said the police operation in Parliament Lodges is “proof of Imran Khan’s nervousness.” “Violence against members of the Parliament and their arrests is unbearable, this is enough,” he said, adding that consequences of such dictatorial acts will not be good for the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government.
Taking notice of the issue, PMLN Vice President Maryam Nawaz said that Islamabad police should refrain from acting like the prime minister’s “stooges”.
“You (Imran Khan) are responsible for this; your filthy language, arrogance, pride and disrespect for other leaders have led you to this position,” she said, adding that it’s too late now as his (Khan’s) threats are useless now, the report said.
The development comes amid growing discontent against the Imran Khan government, with Pakistan’s main opposition parties filing a no-confidence motion against the Pakistan PM on Tuesday in the National Assembly. (ANI)
Islamabad [Pakistan]: Pakistan’s Aurat March, scheduled to be held on International Women’s Day on March 8, will focus on wages, security and peace for women, local media reported.
The slogan for this year’s Aurat March on International Women’s Day is Ujrat, Tahaffuz Aur Sukoon, said social worker Sheema Kermani at a press conference at the Karachi Press Club (KPC) on Thursday. She said this year, it will be the fifth Aurat March, Dawn newspaper reported. After her speech, an organiser of the march put forward the three central demands saying that the march is dedicated to the labour and hard work of women and khawajasira.
The three demands include that “all workers, whether they’re working in factories, on farms and homesteads, in homes as domestic workers or as sanitation workers be given a living wage based on access to safe housing, quality education and affordable healthcare for themselves and their families. As a first step immediate reinforcement of the minimum wage across all sectors, and for all actors who refuse this to be fined under the law,” the Pakistani newspaper reported.
“The provision of social security and protection through monthly stipends for all women and khawajasira community in view of the care labour they perform and economic violence they are subjected to,” Dawn newspaper reported.
“The state prioritise the welfare of the child by putting an end to child labour, trafficking for work, and bonded labour. The government should provide childcare and protection centres and child support services in every district of Karachi and in the rest of Sindh,” the Pakistani newspaper reported. (ANI)
Islamabad [Pakistan],(ANI): Pakistan’s trade deficit widened to USD 28.8 billion in the first seven months of the current fiscal year more than the annual target set by the federal government further increasing the foreign borrowing requirement to bridge the yawning gap.
Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) released data on Wednesday which showed that the trade deficit during the July-January period of the current fiscal year was USD 13.8 billion, or 92 per cent more than the same period of the previous year, as noted by Express Tribune. The government had set the annual trade deficit target at USD 28.4 billion that it breached in the seventh month of the fiscal year.
The government’s external sector projections are heavily dependent on the trade deficit estimates. The higher deficit will now require more foreign borrowing compared to the government’s initial estimates.
Pakistan’s federal government has already taken USD 10.4 billion in foreign loans during the first half of the current fiscal year, as analysed by Express Tribune.
The central bank’s foreign currency reserves are constantly on the decline and dipped further to USD 16.1 billion due to the increasing trade deficit.
On the other hand, imports in the July-January period increased 59 USD to USD 46.5 billion. In absolute terms, the imports grew USD 17.2 billion, according to the PBS.
The central bank has introduced a cash margin requirement (CMR) for more imported goods besides curtailing consumer financing to ease the import pressure.
For the first time, a slowdown was witnessed in imports, as the monthly bill was USD 1.7 billion less than the preceding month.
However, it is not clear whether the slowdown is temporary or will take hold in the coming months. Exports increased 24 per cent in the first seven months of the current fiscal year and stood at USD 17.7 billion as compared to USD 14.3 billion in the same period of previous year, according to the PBS. In absolute terms, there was an increase of USD 3.4 billion in exports.
During the period under review, exports were equal to 67 per cent of the annual target of USD 26.3 billion, indicating that the target will be met comfortably.
The Ministry of Commerce now projects exports to touch USD 31 billion in the full fiscal year. In January 2022, imports were registered at USD 5.9 billion, showing an increase of USD 1.1 billion or nearly one-fourth over a year ago.
Consequently, the trade deficit widened 26.5 per cent year-on-year to USD 3.4 billion in January, as noted by Express Tribune. Image(instagram)
Islamabad [Pakistan], (ANI): Demanding that gas be restored to all industrial sectors in Pakistan’s Karachi, hundreds of industrialists protested outside the Sui Southern Gas Company (SSGC) headquarters on Wednesday, reported Dawn.
They appealed to Prime Minister Imran Khan to respond immediately to the constitutional right of the business community of Karachi. The industrialists feared that if such an unsettling scenario persisted, the country would suffer turmoil as a result of industry closures and huge unemployment.
The protesters, who included the leadership of the Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) and the Businessmen Group (BMG), warned that the campaign would continue until all industrial facilities were fully restored.
Earlier, SSGC management presented a list of around 189 industries suspected to be involved in the use of illegal devices and the governor took serious notice and ordered immediate disconnection of gas to all units involved in the criminal activity.
Notably, SSGC said it had suspended gas supply to 225 industries.
BMG chairman Zubair Motiwala, vice chairman Jawed Bilwani, and KCCI president Muhammad Idrees have all voiced grave alarm over the government’s inaction in the face of impending problems, reported the newspaper.
They calculated that factories in Karachi lost Rs45 billion in a single day owing to gas shortages. Image(instagram)
Islamabad [Pakistan], (ANI): Pakistan’s Supreme Court Justice Umar Ata Bandial sworn in as the new Chief Justice of Pakistan on Wednesday, reported Samaa News.
He will continue as the Chief Justice till his retirement on September 18, 2023. This followed the departure of former Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP), Gulzar Ahmed, from the position.
Identifying the ‘scandalisation’ of judges and a massive backlog of undecided cases as major challenges facing the judiciary, Chief Justice Bandial on Tuesday, spoke at length about the challenges faced by the superior judiciary during the former CJP’s term, reported DAWN.
He criticised Pakistani mainstream media and social media for resorting to attacking judges rather than criticising their judgements.
Furthermore, coining the idea of performance audits of all courts, including the apex court, to identify and remedy weaknesses, Justice Bandial called on the legal fraternity to help save the court’s time.
He urged judicial use of time by ensuring a greater reliance on written briefs, concise statements and skeleton arguments by counsel and an end to the culture of seeking adjournments at the time of the hearing, reported the newspaper. image (instagram)
Islamabad [Pakistan] (ANI): Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan has admitted that the people in the country are facing massive inflation as prices of commodities and fuel have surged in the nation and stated that the inflation issue keeps him awake at night, a media report said. Answering a question about skyrocketing inflation during a general public live on-air program on Saturday, Imran Khan said that it was the only problem that “kept [him] awake at night”, reported Dawn. But Imran Khan also said that the current inflation was a “global phenomenon”. The Prime Minister also noted that when the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf led government came into power, they had to deal with a massive account deficit which led to a surge in the price of imports. Imran Khan also noted that multiple countries are currently facing a supply shortage issue due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Stating that the US has spent USD 6,000 billion for the welfare of the people during the pandemic, Imran said that Pakistan spent USD 8bn. “We must compare the situation of both countries,” he added. The Pakistan Prime Minister also noted that currently, the UK and some European countries face record inflation. With regard to inflation, Imran Khan also asked the media to keep a “balanced approach” while discussing inflation and to inform citizens of the situation across the world. Admitting that inflation has affected Pakistanis a lot, Imran said that the salaried class was the most affected due to inflation. (Image source: Instagram)
Sarwakai [Pakistan], (ANI): Pakistan Security forces conducted an intelligence-based operation (IBO) in the Sarwakai area of South Waziristan district and recovered a huge cache of weapons in the process.
According to Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), the forces conducted the IBO on the reported presence of terrorists in the area, according to Dawn. “During the search of the area, a large number of weapons, ammunition and improvised explosive device preparation material was recovered from the hideout,” the ISPR said.
The weapons and ammunition recovered from the hideout include submachine guns, RPG-7, hand grenades and a large quantity of ammunition of multiple calibres, the statement added.
Earlier, the Pakistan security forces had a week ago conducted an Intelligence Based Operations in Miranshah, North Waziristan in which one terrorist was killed while two others were apprehended.
“Weapons and ammunition [were] also recovered from [the] terrorists,” the ISPR had said.
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa police chief Moazzam Jah Ansari had on January 20 declared the Islamic State group’s Khorasan chapter a bigger threat to peace in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa than the outlawed Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan, as reported by Dawn. (ANI)
Lahore [Pakistan] (ANI): Pakistan’s Jamaat-i-Islami (JI) party on Tuesday announced launching a nation-wide protest movement to press the government for taking back the mini-budget which the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) government recently bulldozed through the National Assembly, a media report said. “The JI will hold 100 sit-ins in all the major cities before staging the final sit-in in Islamabad,” Dawn quoted the JI chief Siraj ul Haq announcing at a press conference here at Mansoora on Tuesday. Siraj ul Haq said that the schedule of the movement will be announced soon and also called for the removal of the Governor of the State Bank of Pakistan. The government should reduce the prices of basic food by 50 per cent, said the JI leader amid the rising inflation in the country. Haq also warned that if the Imran Khan government does not reduce prices, the PTI government should get ready to face the people’s wrath in Islamabad. The upcoming sit-in by JI will be the last nail in the PTI’s coffin, said Haq, stressing that the other parties in Pakistan as the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) are also equally responsible for the “destruction” of the country’s economy and institution. The JI leader slated the government for a 100 per cent to 300 percent hike in the food prices, the rupee depreciation and apprehended that the country’s nuclear programme could be rolled backed due to the prevailing economic crisis, according to Dawn. Stressing that the PTI had virtually handed over the country’s control to the IMF, Haq said that the JI could not sit silent in the prevailing situation and would fight till the people got relief. (Image source: Instagram)
Kabul [Afghanistan] (ANI): Taliban government has discussed a land survey for a railway project among Uzbekistan, Afghanistan and Pakistan at a cabinet meeting, Xinhua News Agency reported citing Afghan media on Tuesday. Afghanistan’s acting Prime Minister Mohammad Hassan Akhund chaired the cabinet meeting, the news agency said. It added that the cabinet also directed the Economic Commission to evaluate the terms and conditions put forward by foreign companies that are willing to invest in the field of compressed natural gas. Pakistan National Security Adviser (NSA) Moeed Yusuf has visited Kabul amid the ongoing humanitarian crisis in the country. This would be the second high-level visit from Pakistan since the Taliban took over Afghanistan in August last year, The Express Tribune newspaper reported. This visit comes as several contentious issues have emerged between Afghanistan and Pakistan clashed including the border fencing issue which led to clashes at the Durand Line. (Image source: Unsplash)
Islamabad [Pakistan] (ANI): Political change is visible in Pakistan with the sudden outburst by Defence Minister Pervez Khattak against federal Minister Hammad Azhar and Prime Minister Imran Khan at the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI ) Parliamentary party meeting. Pervez Khattak could pose a potential threat to the Leader of the House and Prime Minister Imran Khan in the near future as he enjoys the support of 80 lawmakers in the lower house for a change within the house, according to the Nation. Further, Pervez Khattak denied any differences; a day after his mysterious absence from the national security policy launch has given strength to reports of serious cracks within the ruling party. If both Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz and Pakistan People’s Party are unable to forge any unity for moving no trust motion then Pervez Khattak would move forward and take away his loyal MPs with him by making a forward bloc which would pose the biggest challenge to the survival of Imran Khan Khan in the parliament, according to the Nation. Imran Khan is gradually losing the support of his allies in the parliament as well. In the parliamentary party meeting, allies also complained about the mini-budget and wanted the Prime Minister to review it. Winds of changes are not restricted to Islamabad alone and it’s reaching Karachi and Peshawar within no time. More voices such as Noor Alam Khan would appear in both houses of the Parliament, which are clear indicators that Member of Parliaments wants the change of the leader of the house of their party, according to the Nation. (Image source: Unsplash)
Islamabad [Pakistan] (ANI): Probe into misuse of petroleum imports from China began in Pakistan as the federal government on Friday ordered all oil marketing companies (OMCs) to provide evidence-based data on the import of petrol from China amid reports of the misuse of China-Pakistan Free Trade Agreement (CPFTA). Under the CPFTA renegotiated in 2019, the Pakistan government had issued statutory regulatory orders on December 31, 2019, that abolished tariff on import of petrol. As such, there was no customs duty on the import of petrol from China with effect from Jan 1, 2020. Normal petroleum imports from all other sources, mostly the Middle East, attract 10 per cent customs duty while similar deemed duty is applicable on production from local refineries, according to Dawn. Further, results in a price saving of about 10 per cent on petrol imports from China. However, this price differential is retained by the OMCs as windfall profit instead of its benefit to the exchequer or the consumers. Depending on the international petrol price published in Platt’s Oilgram, the gap normally works out between Rs9-12 per litre. Earlier, the key purpose of the free trade agreement signed on April 28, 2019, was the promotion of fair trade competition. On the other hand, China itself is a net importer of petroleum products including petrol and transportation cost to Pakistan is relatively higher than that of the Middle East. Yet this provides a substantial cushion to the OMCs. Earlier, last month, the local refineries had told the government that domestic production of petrol and high-speed diesel (HSD) could potentially go up by 60 per cent and 48 per cent , respectively, at a significant foreign exchange saving provided the local refineries were operated at optimum capacity. Meanwhile, Pakistan’s oil import bill, particularly of refined petroleum products, has been the largest chunk of about 83pc increase in imports in the first five months of the current fiscal year, causing unrest among the government ranks as money and share markets plummeted last month, according to Dawn. Further, the local refineries had been agitating their operational challenges because of lower furnace oil off-take by power producers despite their extremely low storages than contractually required and large import quantities of both petrol and diesel by OMCs. (Image source: Instagram)
Damascus [Syria] (ANI): Amid rising accusations against China for trapping countries in massive debts with larger infrastructure plans, Syria has joined Beijing’s Belt and Road Initiative which Beijing says will open broad horizons of cooperation for the Middle-East country. The ceremony of Syria’s admission into the initiative took place at the Planning and International Cooperation Commission in the capital Damascus and was attended by Fadi Khalil, the head of the commission, and Feng Biao, China’s ambassador to Syria, during which both sides signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Syria joining the BRI, reported Xinhua. The admission of Syria into the initiative revives the old role of Syria on the ancient Silk Road, said Khalil, adding it will help in boosting bilateral cooperation with China and multilateral cooperation with other countries, which are desirous of cooperating with Syria. He also said that Syria had been one of the main countries on the ancient Silk Road particularly the cities of Aleppo and Palmyra. With regard to the BRI, Chinese envoy Feng said that the cooperation between Beijing-Syria provides the greatest contribution to the economic reconstruction and social development in Syria and it also enhances the harmonization between the BRI and the eastward strategy proposed by Syria. China proposed BRI in 2013, which comprises the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road. Beijing said that it aims to build a trade, investment, and infrastructure network connecting Asia with other parts of the world along the ancient Silk Road trade routes and beyond. Meanwhile, several countries have criticised the BRI project as they said that the project has become synonymous with wasteful spending, ecological destruction and massive debt burdens and aims to make profits for the participating country’s leaders and Chinese companies at the cost of the nation’s natural resources or people, said the InsideOver in a report earlier. In 2018, a study found that 270 out of 1,814 BRI-related projects had problems related to debt sustainability, labour and environmental standards, national security, transparency, and corruption. A McKinsey survey in 2017 revealed that 60 per cent to 80 per cent of the Chinese companies in Africa admitted to paying bribes for bagging contracts. Further, Chinese firms scored second to last in one of the latest Transparency International Bribe Payers Index in the Continent, added the InsideOver. (Image source: Unsplash)
Islamabad [Pakistan] (ANI): The number of COVID-19 cases in Pakistan has hit a new record with 3,000 cases reported in the last 24 hours after a gap of over four months, with the country’s positivity rate showing an extraordinary nine-fold increase in just one month. Earlier, 3,152 cases were reported on September 11, 2021, in Pakistan. A total of 3,019 cases and five deaths were reported, with 651 patients on critical care, across Pakistan over the past 24 hours, according to data released by the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC), reported Dawn. The positivity ratio, which was 0.69 per cent on December 13, 2021, rose to 6.12pc during the last 24 hours. Karachi reported 20.45pc positivity, Lahore 10.7pc, Rawalpindi 7.35pc, Islamabad 6.3pc, Gilgit 5.88pc and Gujrat 5.81pc. Notably, the first case of Omicron variant of Covid-19 was detected on December 13 in Karachi and since then the number of cases has been skyrocketing in the country. (Image source: Instagram)
Islamabad [Pakistan] (ANI): Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan will attend the scheduled Beijing Winter Olympic ceremony next month despite the West’s Boycott. Prime Minister Imran Khan will visit China next month to attend the opening ceremony of the 2022 Beijing Olympics and hold discussions on bilateral ties between the two countries, according to News International. The announcement that PM Imran Khan will attend the event follows a boycott announced by Western countries. The US, Britain, Australia, and Canada have announced a diplomatic boycott of the event, while North Korea was the latest country to pull out, citing the pandemic. Though athletes from around the world will travel to compete in the four-yearly event, no dignitaries from these western countries are expected to watch the games. Western countries ranging from the US have boycotted the Beijing Olympics citing China’s poor human rights record in the recent past ranging from actions against Uyghurs and Tibetians. The Prime Minister will arrive in Beijing for a three-day official visit — from February 3 to 5 — at the invitation of the Chinese leadership. During his visit, he will hold important meetings with China’s top leadership, said the spokesperson during his weekly news briefing in the federal capital, according to News International. (Image source: Instagram)
Islamabad [Pakistan]: The recent sharp increase in the food prices in Pakistan has again pushed the inflation up, forcing people to face difficulties amid multiple economic challenges faced by the country, a media report said. Inflation measured through the Sensitive Price Index (SPI) posted an increase of 0.08 per cent for the week ended on January 6 driven by a sharp increase in the prices of essential food and non-food items, data released by the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) showed on Friday, reported Dawn. The SPI-based inflation showed positive growth after a decline last week. In recent months, the highest weekly inflation jump was recorded last November with rise of 1.81 per cent. The overall increase was mainly due to an increase of 5.23 per cent in potato price, followed by chicken 4.45 per cent, bananas 2.56 per cent, onions 2.12 per cent, pulse masoor 1.55 per cent, pulse gram 1.46 per cent and pulse mash 1.44 per cent. In non-food items, price of diesel and salt increased by 2.75 per cent each and petrol 2.68 per cent, according to Dawn. It comes as Pakistan’s trade deficit surged due to the rise in imports. The country’s trade deficit has surged to USD 24.79 billion during the first half of the current fiscal year, mainly on the back of a 63 per cent year-on-year increase in imports. Data for the July-December period showed that imports jumped to USD 39.91 bn from USD 24.47 bn a year ago. In contrast, exports during July-December also grew 25 per cent to USD 15.13bn compared to the year-ago period, reported Dawn.
Islamabad [Pakistan: sikh community in pakistan is no longer feeling safe as per reports.
As per Al Arabiya Post, irregularities in the audit of Kartarpur Corridor (KC), Gulab Devi Lahore underpass name changed to Abdul Sattar Edhi and prohibition on Sikhs to carry sword inside government offices in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa are cases in point. Nabeela Irfan, Deputy Commissioner, Narowal in a letter addressed in December last year to Maj Gen Kamal Azfar, DG, Frontier Works Organization (FWO) has alleged that the organization has misappropriated funds of KC and is refusing to provide account documents to the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of Auditor General of Pakistan responsible for the audit of KC.
Nabeel has also alleged that irregularities have come to notice in a report submitted by Dr Shoaib Salim ADC, Narowal. The report contains the following irregularities amounting to approximately 165 crore PKR (Pakistan Rupee).
A bill of 7 lakh cement bags has been deposited while actual usage was of around 4.29 lakh cement bags, reported Al Arabiya Post.
The base of the buildings has been kept 11.5 feet deep instead of 18 feet and the bricks bought from Chaudhary Mukhtar, Brick Kiln owner, Shakargarh were of low quality while the bill was submitted of good quality bricks.
Moreover, Global Nobel Company which was given major work of KC is owned by one Brig (Retd) Yousuf Mirza which was constituted just three days prior to awarding of KC Project contract, reported Al Arabiya Post.
Another glowing example of the plight of Sikhs in Pakistan is changing the name of Gulab Devi underpass situated opposite Gulab Devi Chest Hospital to Abdul Sattar Edhi underpass by the Punjab government on December 21.
This was announced by Usman Buzdar, CM Punjab while inaugurating the renovated underpass. (Gulab Devi was the mother of Lala Lajpat Rai. Lajpat Rai had established the trust to build and run a TB hospital in memory of his mother in 1927), reported Al Arabiya Post.
Meanwhile, Peshawar High Court in its December 23 order prohibited Sikhs from carrying the ‘Kirpan’ while entering Government offices including Judicial courts in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
High Court has further asked Sikhs to apply for arms license to carry the sword in person. Peshawar based Sikhs had filed a case in court (July 2020) for allowing them to carry the sword in public places citing that it was part of their Sikh religion and Amritdhari Sikhs have to wear the sword under Sikh tenets (Part of 5 Kakars), reported Al Arabiya Post.
In a letter addressed on December 21 to Gurpal Singh, Peshawar based Sikh leader, the Additional Registrar of Peshawar High court directed that the sword has been declared a licensed weapon and thus Sikhs have to secure a license for the same.
Islamabad [Pakistan]: Pakistan’s troubles along its border has increased amid tension with both Afghanistan and India. The border trouble gives grave signals to its military-backed government that exporting terrorism would carry grave consequences, according to Al Arabiya. Earlier, Pakistani Rangers exchanged mortar fire with the Taliban in eastern Nangarhar province after the latter ripped away the border fence being laid by the Pakistani personnel in the third week of December last year. The local Taliban official followed it up by threatening ‘a war’ if the Pakistanis persisted with the border fencing. Further, Pakistani soldiers unleashed artillery in Afghanistan’s Kunar province following the incident in Nangarhar province’s Gushta area. This indicates that both sides have upped the ante along the disputed Durand boundary. The Durand Line forms the Afghanistan-Pakistan border, a 2,670-kilometre (1,660 mi) international land border between Pakistan and Afghanistan. Further, the Taliban local affiliates mentioned that they have stopped the Pakistan military from erecting barbed wire fences and outposts in Afghanistan’s Nimroz province, according to local media. On the other hand, around the same time in the third week of December ( 2021), Pakistan soldiers clashed with India in Jammu and Kashmir on the border when the Indians thwarted efforts to infiltrate militants. The Indian Army had formally raised the issue of Pakistan Rangers starting a construction project just across the Line of Control, opposite Kupwara district in Jammu and Kashmir union. But the two incidents portray Pakistan image which is obsessed with the Kashmir border dispute with India and has sought to ‘normalise’ the border with successive governments in Afghanistan, according to Al Arabiya. Earlier, Islamabad invested heavily in the Taliban in the mid-1990s when the latter took power in Afghanistan and, again, after they were pushed out of power following the US-led invasion in 2001. Nearly two- decades’ sheltering and nurturing of the Taliban was meant to acquire “strategic depth” vis a vis the perennial enemy India. However, the Taliban’s return to power in Kabul in August 2021, from securing that ‘depth’, has denied it even the basic peace with Afghanistan. Although landlocked and dependent upon Pakistan for reaching out to the sea, the Afghans have doggedly refused to acknowledge the British-era defined Durrand Line border according to Al Arabiya.
Lahore [Pakistan]: Pakistan all-rounder Mohammad Hafeez has announced his retirement from international cricket on Monday. After making a debut on April 3, 2003, against Zimbabwe, the all-rounder has decided to retire after 18 years. Hafeez represented Pakistan in 392 international matches, scoring 12,780 runs and taking 253 wickets, besides also captaining the side in 32 international matches. He was a member of the Pakistan side that won the ICC Champions Trophy 2017 in England and Wales. Overall, Hafeez played in three 50-over World Cups (2007, 2011 and 2019), six 20-over World Cups (2007, 2010, 2012, 2014, 2016 and 2021) and three ICC Champions Trophies (2006, 2013 and 2017). “Today I say goodbye to international cricket with pride and satisfaction. In fact, I have earned and accomplished more than I had initially envisaged and for that, I am thankful to all my fellow cricketers, captains, support staff and the Pakistan Cricket Board who helped me out during my career,” read Hafeez’s statement in an official Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) release. “And, of course, my family who made big sacrifices to ensure I achieved my aspirations of representing Pakistan at a global stage. I am extremely fortunate, lucky and proud to have been considered worthy of donning the national kit with Pakistan emblem for 18 years. My country and my team have always been at my forefront and therefore, every time I stepped onto the field, I tried to raise their profile and image by playing hard and tough but within the rich traditions of spirit of cricket,” he added. PCB Chairman Ramiz Raja lauded praises for Hafeez and wished him luck for his life ahead. “Hafeez has been a wholehearted cricketer who worked tirelessly at his game to have a long and fruitful career. His game evolved with time, adjusting to different formats quite intelligently. Later in his career, he became a T20 specialist, where he was never out of touch with modern demands of this testing format. His batsmanship took a sprightly turn, nailing sixes almost at will,” said Ramiz Raja. “He has worn the green blazer with pride for which we at the PCB are thankful. I wish him best of luck for his future life and thank him again for his magnificent contribution to Pakistan cricket,” he added. In the ICC Player Rankings, Hafeez achieved the highest Test rankings of 22nd in batting, 29th in bowling and fifth in all-rounders. In the ODI rankings, Hafeez’s highest ranking was 13th in March 2014, while he topped the bowling and all-rounder charts in August 2012 and January 2013, respectively. Hafeez’s rankings in T20I were equally impressive, peaking to ninth in batting in February 2007, third in bowling in August 2013 and number-one in all-rounders in March 2014.
Islamabad [Pakistan]: The Pakistan government on Sunday warned of a beginning of another COVID-19 wave in the country amid rising cases following the emergence of the Omicron variant. The National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) Chief and Planning Minister Asad Umar took to his official Twitter handle and stated that genome sequencing has shown a rising proportion of Omicron, “particularly in Karachi”. “Clear evidence now of a beginning of another covid wave which has been expected for last few weeks. Genome sequencing showing rising proportion of omicron cases particularly in Karachi. Remember: wearing a mask is your best protection,” he tweeted. He urged people to wear masks, adding that it was their “best protection”. Umar’s tweet comes a few days after the National Institute of Health (NIH) confirmed 75 cases of the Omicron strain of Covid-19 across the country, two weeks after the first case was reported in Karachi. The local government imposed a 15-day micro-smart lockdown in Karachi’s District East on Saturday after the emergence of at least 12 cases of Omicron variant in the area. As the local transmission of the most transmissible variant of Covid-19, Omicron, is now being reported from all across the country, Pakistan’s positivity rate remained over 1 per cent for the second consecutive day on Saturday, Dawn reported.
Islamabad [Pakistan]: Pakistan’s ‘mini budget’ or the Finance Supplementary Bill, 2021 was introduced on Thursday in the National Assembly but fails to solve the increasing problems of the people due to high inflation under Imran Khan’s regime. Though Pakistan’s Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin has dismissed every suggestion of the new taxation measures being inflationary in nature, the withdrawal of the tax exemptions and the increase in the sales tax rate on a large number of goods ranging from iodised salt to pharmaceutical ingredients to baby formula milk to cars and more is going to push up headline prices going forward, according to Dawn. However, it is argued that the inflationary impact will be somewhat milder than what was generally being anticipated. Moreover, these fiscal actions were also required to support the recent actions taken by the State Bank in order to contain money supply in the market to rein in inflation. Also, the passage of the bill along with the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) Amendment Bill is one of the key conditions for the resumption of the USD 6 billion IMF funding programme that the government had ditched in April last year in order to pursue rapid growth and in the hope of the world coming to its aid after the American withdrawal from neighbouring Afghanistan, according to Dawn. Earlier, the SBP role was first defined in the State Bank of Pakistan Act 1956. Since then, the SBP Act has been amended several times to reflect changes to economic thought globally, including advocating for an independent role of central banks. Major revisions in the SBP Act came in 1994, 1997, 2012 and 2015. Pakistan’s return to the IMF programme will open up other avenues of multilateral dollars besides leading to the immediate release of the USD 1billion tranche from the IMF and assist the country in raising funds from the international bond market to meet its foreign payment obligations in the next six months and beyond. However, both bills have been introduced in parliament amid strong pledges from the opposition parties which have termed them anti-people and as undermining national sovereignty to resist their passage, according to Dawn.
Islamabad [Pakistan]: Pakistan on Saturday reported over 500 COVID-19 new cases for the second consecutive days and six deaths in the last 24 hours. According to the government’s official COVID portal, Pakistan recorded a total of 556 new cases of coronavirus on Friday, whereas 6 more fatalities were recorded, reported The Express Tribune. Pakistan has so far recorded a total of 1,295,933 cases of COVID-19 since the pandemic started. At least 28,933 people have succumbed to the infection Meanwhile, Pakistan’s COVID positivity rate has risen to 1.08 per cent, reported National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC). Further, a 15-day micro-smart lockdown was imposed in block 7 of Karachi’s Gulshan-e-Iqbal after the emergence of at least 12 cases of Omicron variant in the area, reported The Express Tribune. “In exercise of powers conferred under Section 3 of the Sindh Epidemic Diseases Act 2014 (as amended in 2020), I, Taha Saleem, Deputy Commissioner District Karachi East hereby impose smart lockdown and micro-smart lockdown, which shall be enforced in the streets and houses of specified area respectively as given below, for a definite period of two weeks only,” read the notification by the deputy commissioner’s office. After the imposition of the smart lockdown, there will be a ban on all sorts of public gatherings in the area, the notification said, adding that the government will strictly enforce the implementation of the SOPs, reported The Express Tribune. “In order to reduce the transmission and spread of COVID-19, besides mandatory mask-wearing and social distancing interventions, it is also fundamental to ensure isolation, contact tracing and testing being the three pillars of TTT (TTQ) strategy of the government for the containment of Covid-19,” the notification added. According to the notification, the restrictions will remain in place till January 14 to avert a health crisis. On Tuesday, the National Institute of Health confirmed 75 cases of the Omicron strain of COVID-19 across the country, reported The Express Tribune. “Since the WHO (World Health Organisation) designated Omicron as a Variant of Concern on November 26, 2021, the Ministry of NHSRC (National Health Systems Resource Centre), NCOC, NIH (National Institute of Health) and the provincial health departments have remained vigilant to detect the variant in Pakistan,” read an official statement. “The first case of the Omicron variant of COVID-19 was reported on December 13 in Karachi. As of December 27, 2021, a total of 75 Omicron cases have been confirmed – 33 in Karachi, 17 in Islamabad and 13 in Lahore,” it had added.
Islamabad [Pakistan]: In view of the rising cases of Omicron variant of COVID-19, Pakistan is now facing the fifth wave of coronavirus, and cases may peak in late January or early February, local media reported citing health experts. According to Samaa TV, Islamabad on Friday reported 34 new cases of the Omicron variant. At least 66 of the total cases have been reported from Islamabad so far. On Thursday, eleven members of a single-family were tested positive for the Omicron variant in Karachi. They were infected with the Omicron variant from Lahore. Karachi East Deputy Commission on Friday issued a notification to impose smart and micro-smart lockdown in certain areas of Gulshan-e-Iqbal Block-7 for two weeks, Samaa TV reported. It further reported that under the lockdown order, authorities have restricted the free movement of people living in the area, all businesses except shops selling food and medicine have been closed, public transport has been banned, and pillion riding is no longer allowed. Earlier, on Friday, National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) informed that Pakistan reported 515 new COVID-19 cases and six new deaths.
Islamabad [Pakistan]: After Pakistan’s Finance division issued a notification announcing a hike in petrol and HSD (High-speed diesel) by Rs 4 per litre, the reactions from Opposition parties are rife. Pakistan People Party(PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari took a jibe at PTI, the Pakistani ruling party, and said that this is a new year gift by Imran khan to the people of Pakistan.He also said that the only way to end inflation is to oust PTI’s government, reported Geo News.
PPP chairman questioned the PTI government by saying, “Imran Khan claimed that 2021 would be the year of prosperity, but 2022 has arrived, where have the claims gone”. Zardari blamed the Imran Khan government for the soaring inflation and said that inflation a year prior to the PTI government was less. Boasting of his party, he said that the inflation achieved its peak in Pakistan during PPP’s tenure however they did not let the citizens bear the brunt of it, reported Geo News. He called out the federal government to reduce the prices of petroleum products and bring them in line with the international prices. The price hike is affected from today, the start of a new year, and this coincidence is the perfect opportunity for the Opposition to bring on the political battle by their words. This is not the first time that Zardari has targeted the PTI government. Zardari previously said that democracy in Pakistan only exists on paper. He also termed Imran Khan government’s mini-budget- antipeople. Pakistan’s economy is already struggling and this hike was made to meet the petroleum levy target agreed with the International Monetary Fund (IMF). As per the notification, the price of kerosene has been increased by Rs 3.95, and light diesel oil (LDO) by Rs 4.15 per litre, reported Geo News.
Islamabad [Pakistan]: Fifth COVID-19 wave with Omicron variant may hit Pakistan by mid-February adding to the country’s pandemic woes. Pakistan may experience the fifth wave of Covid-19 in the mid of February 2022 with daily detection of around 3,000-4,000 cases per day as community transmission of Omicron variant of the SARS-CoV-2, according to News International. Also, the transmission of the Omicron variant of the SARS-CoV-2 has started in Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad there is a rise of Covid-19 cases all over the country in the coming two weeks. Earlier, Coronavirus has begun in the major cities of Pakistan, especially in Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad where so far 75 people were found infected with the Variant of Concern (VoC). Meanwhile, the National Institute of Health (NIH), Islamabad, also confirmed that so far 75 cases of the Omicron variant were confirmed in Pakistan, including 33 in Karachi where the first case was reported on December 13, 2021 while 17 cases of the Omicron variant have been reported from Islamabad and 13 in Lahore. Officials at the Dow University of Health Sciences (DUHS) Karachi and the Aga Khan University Hospital (AKUH) said they have detected several suspected Omicron variant cases and were now trying to get them confirmed through whole genome sequencing. “We would be able to confirm Omicron variant cases by Thursday,” an official of the DUHS said. The NHS official mentioned that Omicron variant cases were ‘asymptomatic’, which indicates that it could be spreading silently in major cities where only a few labs had the capacity to pick the suspected cases. The molecular genetics experts said no commercial lab in Karachi or anywhere in the country was detecting the Omicron variant although its kit was now available in the country, according to News International.
Kathua (Jammu and Kashmir) [India]: A Kathua resident who had spent 29 years in a Pakistani jail received a rousing welcome on his return to his hometown and family in Jammu and Kashmir. Kuldeep Singh, a resident of the far-flung village Makwal of Billawar of Kathua district reunited with his family after 29 years of imprisonment in Pakistan’s Kot Lakhpat jail. Upon his return home on Friday night, he was warmly welcomed by his family members, friends, relatives and villagers who distributed sweets. Singh who had accidentally crossed the International border to Pakistan in December 1992 was arrested by the Pakistan Army. He faced four trials of spy cases in Pakistan court and was convicted to rigorous imprisonment of 25 years. After regular correspondence and a legal fight by the Indian High Commission, Singh was released from jail and returned to India on December 20 via the Wagah border in Amritsar. Singh said that every Indian who falls into the net of the Pakistan Army gets treated as a spy and is subjected to torture that includes high voltage torches and rigorously imprisonment. “I never left hope. An Indian that comes in the net of the Pakistan Army is treated as a spy and is tortured and given rigorous imprisonment and not shown any humanity,” said Singh. Singh said that he got a new lease of life and is very happy as he was able to reunite with his family. He further said that two people from Jammu and Kashmir are still languishing in Pakistan jail awaiting their release. He also said that 10 to 12 Indians are under treatment at mental hospitals in Pakistan as they were badly tortured by security agencies. Singh also appealed to both the Indian and Pakistan governments to release all prisoners of both countries on humanitarian grounds. Kuldeep Singh’s wife, Urmila said that she was very happy as her husband had returned after 29 years. “Today is a very big day for our family. This is a new birth for him and our family,” she said. Singh’s son Amit said that he had faced a lot of difficulties in the absence of his father. “We have knocked at every door to get my father released. Many people helped us in return of my father. Our life has changed now,” he added.
Pakistan on December 19 hosted a special meeting of the 57-member Organization of Islamic Countries aimed at providing aid to the Afghan people, who are battling a grim winter season amid suspension of all international aid. The 17th Extraordinary Session of the OIC Council of Foreign Ministers was the biggest conference on Afghanistan since the Taliban takeover in August 2021. Delegates from the US, Russia, China and the UN were also present.
After the meeting, the OIC resolved to work with the United Nations to find a way out to unfreeze Afghan assets abroad, estimated to be worth several hundreds of millions of dollars. These assets have been frozen since the Taliban takeover of Kabul.
For the international community, the situation in Afghanistan is a unique challenge. On the one hand, millions of Afghans are battling a humanitarian crisis in the absence of food, medicine, winter clothing and education. However, providing any assistance to the country would require legitimizing the Taliban government that not only seized power in Kabul unlawfully, but also has severely curtailed the rights of women and minorities, has clamped down on girls education and has been killing officials of former Afghan govt and the Afghan National Army.
With no international government engaging with the Taliban, it fell upon Pakistan, which has tried to present itself as the friend of the Afghan people, to call upon all Muslim countries to find a way out to resume international aid to Kabul. Pakistan is also concerned that if the economic situation in Afghanistan deteriorates further, the flow of Afghan refugees to the country will also increase substantially, increasing economic burden on Pakistan. Of course, it is also well-known that Pakistan has been a sympathizer and principal sponsor of the Taliban, and by highlighting the plight of ordinary Afghans, it wants the world to recognize the new regime in Kabul.
At the OIC meeting, Pakistani PM Imran Khan urged the United States to consider the four crore Afghan population as separate from the Taliban. He then also went off-course and brought in his Kashmir agenda, saying the OIC must have a unified response for Kashmir and Palestine. However, considering Talibans image and its worrying records on human rights, the OIC knows it would be a challenge to convince the world to resume normal relations with the regime. Therefore, at the meeting, the OIC also called upon the Taliban, whose foreign minister Amir Khan Muttaqi was also attending, to abide by “obligations under international human rights covenants, especially with regards to the rights of women, children, youth, elderly and people with special needs”. It also resolved to prepare a team of International Muslim scholars that will engage with the Taliban on issues like tolerance in Islam, womens rights, education for girls, etc. Although the 57 Muslim countries pledged to work to provide financial and humanitarian aid to Afghanistan and to try and get its assets unfrozen, there was no financial commitment by any nation. Which goes on to show that Pakistan’s move to involve the OIC may not produce the desired results.
Islamabad [Pakistan]: After facing defeat in the local body elections in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan has formed a new organisational structure for the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI), a day after dissolving all previous bodies within his party. According to Dawn newspaper, the announcement was made by the country’s Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry through his official Twitter account today. He said that Planning Minister Asad Umar had been chosen as the secretary-general. Apart from it, several others had been named as the presidents for various provincial divisions. These include — Defence Minister Pervez Khattak for Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Minister for Maritime Affairs Ali Zaidi for Sindh, National Assembly Deputy Speaker Qasim Suri for Balochistan, Education Minister Shafqat Mahmood for Punjab and Minister for Industries and Production Khusro Bakhtiar for South Punjab. On Friday, Chaudhry said that the ruling party has decided to dissolve its organisational structure. “Since party tickets were distributed on the basis of nepotism as against the principles of fairness and merit, Prime minister Imran Khan is very upset,” Geo tv quoting Fawad reported as saying, adding that in the light of the situation, the party has decided to dissolve its organisational structure across Pakistan. The Minister for Information and Broadcasting was addressing a press conference in Islamabad in which he said that the party has decided to form a new constitutional committee to devise a strategy for the second phase of the local bodies election in the province, the media outlet said. Speaking about the outcome of the polls, the minister said that he has received complaints that the tickets for the recently held LG polls in the province were distributed among families of party members. Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam Fazl (JUI-F) has won elections in 10 tehsil councils, PTI in 9, ANP in 5, PML-N, and Jamaat-e-Islami have bagged one seat each, The News International reported citing the unofficial and unconfirmed results of 31 out of 64 tehsil councils in 17 districts. Meanwhile, Imran Khan will give the chief minister guidelines to devise an effective strategy for the next phase of the local body elections in the province scheduled next month. Earlier, the Pakistan premier, who is not happy with the PTI’s performance in KP, had summoned KP’s Mahmood Khan to Islamabad.
Islamabad [Pakistan]: Pakistan is celebrating the 146th birth anniversary of Mohammad Ali Jinnah, the founder of Pakistan on Saturday. The national flag will be hoisted at top of all public and private buildings on the occasion, ARY News reported. It further reported that the day will dawn with the recitation of the Holy Quran at the mausoleum of Quaid-e-Azam in Karachi. A graceful change of guards ceremony will be held at the mausoleum in the morning. A number of events, including seminars, debates and exhibitions, will be held both at official and civil society levels to highlight life, achievements and different aspects of the personality of the Quaid-e-Azam, ARY News reported.
Islamabad [Pakistan]: Amid rising Omicron cases in a number of countries, Pakistan’s COVID response body has allowed booster shots for people aged 30 years and above. The booster shots will be administered free of charge from January 1, the Dawn reported, quoting Dr Rana Safdar, Director General for Ministry of National Health Services (NHS). Booster doses of choice would be given to people, said Safdar stressing that that mix and match have been allowed or booster of the same company, which was administered earlier, can be given as per the choice of the people. Earlier, people over the age of 50 years and immune-compromised persons were allowed to get free booster jabs. Urging the people to inoculate themselves, NCOC said in a statement on Monday that the Omicron variant has been reported in 95 countries, with 58,000 confirmed cases till now.
More than 20 months after the Kartarpur corridor was shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a jatha of Sikh pilgrims from India crossed over to Pakistan on Wednesday ahead of the birth anniversary of Guru Nanak. Pakistan had issued around 3000 visas to Indian Sikh pilgrims on the eve of the 552nd Birth Anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev from November 17-26. “They [the jatha] will visit Gurdwara Darbar Sahib, Sri Panja Sahib, Dera Sahib, Kartarpur Sahib and Gurdwara Sacha Sauda,” said Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Arindam Bagchi. “Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi has issued around 3000 visas to Indian Sikh Yatrees to participate in the 552nd Birth Anniversary celebrations of Baba Guru Nanak in Pakistan from 17-26 November 2021. During their stay in Pakistan, the Sikh Yatrees would pay obeisance at different Gurdwaras including Gurdwara Janam Asthan in Nankana Sahib and Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Kartarpur,” read a Pakistan High Commission release. The move came keeping in view the significance of the upcoming occasion of Guru Nanak Gurpurab, and the sentiments associated with the religious festival. Guru Nanak Jayanti, also known as Guru Nanak Gurpurab, celebrates the birth of the first Sikh Guru and is considered one of the most sacred festivals among Sikhs. The day is celebrated on the full moon day of the Kartik month as per the Hindu calendar. It is also marked as Kartik Poornima. This year the day falls on November 19.
Earlier in this year, Pakistan has denied permission to Sikh pilgrims from India on two occasions in June this year– one on the martyrdom day of Guru Arjan Dev Ji and the second on the death anniversary of Maharaja Ranjit Singh Ji, the MEA spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said. Visas of the Sikh pilgrims have been issued under the Pakistan-India Protocol on Visits to Religious Shrines of 1974, which provides for the visit of Sikh pilgrims from India to Pakistan for the birthday celebrations of Baba Guru Nanak. The 1974 Protocol on Visits to Religious Shrines between India and Pakistan is a set of principles that was implemented while keeping in view the sentiments and devotion of the various communities in the two countries.
The protocol states that such visits from one country to the other shall be allowed without discrimination as to religion or sect; up to 20 parties may be allowed to visit from one country to the other every year, while the number could be revised from time to time; Every effort should continue to be made to ensure that places of religious worship mentioned in the agreed list are properly maintained and their sanctity preserved, the Ministry of External Affairs said in a statement. Thousands of Sikh Pilgrims residing in countries other than India would also be visiting Pakistan to attend the event. Gurdwara Kartarpur Sahib, also known as the Gurdwara Darbar Sahib, is located in Pakistan’s Narowal district across river Ravi. It is one of the most significant historical and spiritual places for Sikhs. According to historians, the first Sikh Guru (Guru Nanak Dev) had arrived in Kartarpur between 1520 and 1522 and spent the last 18 years of his life there. In Kartarpur, he laid the foundation of the Sikh religion. The Kartarpur corridor connects the Darbar Sahib Gurdwara in the Narowal district of Pakistan with the Dera Baba Nanak shrine in Gurdaspur district Punjab, India. At the time of the India-Pakistan partition, the Line of Control (LoC) had divided the province of Punjab into two parts. One of which remained in India and the other was within the Pakistan borders. Thus, a lot of Sikh pilgrims could not visit the Darbar Sahib Gurdwara without a visa, even though it was merely 4 kilometres away from Indian borders.
In 1999, then Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and his Pakistan counterpart Nawaz Sharif proposed this corridor under the Delhi-Lahore bus diplomacy. In 2018, the Government of Pakistan approved the construction of the corridor On November 26, 2018, Indian Vice President, Venkaiah Naidu laid the foundation stone of the corridor from the Indian side, and two days after, on November 28, 2018, Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan laid the fountain from the other side of the border. On the occasion of the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev, the Kartarpur Corridor was completed and the first batch of Indian pilgrims was sent to visit their holy pilgrim place. The Kartarpur Corridor was thrown open in 2019. The corridor was built to commemorate the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev, founder of Sikhism.
Kabul [Afghanistan]: Rejecting Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan’s remarks on terrorism in his country, former Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai on Sunday said that the landlocked country has been facing ISIS’s threat from Pakistan. At the Organization for Islamic Cooperation (OIC) summit on Sunday, Imran Khan had said ISIS threatens Pakistan from Afghanistan, adding that stability in Afghanistan is necessary. “We have had attacks from (the) Afghan border, from ISIL (ISIS), into Pakistan,” he said. Reacting to Khan’s remarks, the former Afghan president said these allegations are not true, TOLOnews reported. ISIS from the beginning has been threatening Afghanistan from Pakistan, not the other way around, Karzai added. “These remarks are not true, and are obvious propaganda against Afghanistan,” Karzai said in a statement. “In fact, from the beginning, Afghanistan has been facing ISIS’s threat from Pakistan.” Earlier, Karzai had warned Pakistan not to interfere in Kabul’s internal affairs. He had said that Islamabad should not encourage terrorism or extremism rather should establish relations with the country through “civil principles and principles of international relations.” “My message to Pakistan, our brotherly country, is that they should not try to represent Afghanistan,” he said in an interview with Voice of America (VOA) in October. Pakistan organised a summit of foreign ministers from the OIC on Sunday. An OIC resolution released after the meeting said the Islamic Development Bank would lead the effort to free up assistance by the first quarter of 2022, Al Jazeera reported. The OIC meeting did not give the new Taliban government any formal international recognition and Afghan Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi was excluded from the official photograph taken during the event.
Srinagar (Jammu and Kashmir) [India]: A Pakistani terrorist identified as Abu Khalid who was linked with proscribed terror outfit LeT, was killed during an encounter in Srinagar, informed an official statement issued by Kashmir police on Sunday. “Based on specific input generated by Srinagar Police regarding the presence of a terrorist in Theed Harwan area of Jammu and Kashmir’s Srinagar, a joint cordon and search operation was launched by the police, Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) and Army in the said area,” the statement read. During the search operation, as the presence of the trapped terrorist was ascertained, he was given ample opportunities to surrender. However, he denied the surrender opportunities and fired indiscriminately upon the joint search party which was retaliated leading to an encounter, it said. In the ensuing encounter, the terrorist was killed and his body was retrieved from the site of the encounter. “He has been identified as Safiulla alias Abu Khalid, Shawaz resident of Karachi Pakistan,” the statement added. As per police records, the killed terrorist Saifulla was a categorized terrorist linked with proscribed terror outfit LeT who had infiltrated in 2016 via Bandipora Sector. Later on, he sneaked into Srinagar on the directions of Pakistan based Commanders of LeT outfit for intensifying terrorist-related activities in District Pulwama, Srinagar, Ganderbal and Budgam. It is pertinent to mention that the killed terrorist Saifulla was working as Group Commander of proscribed terror outfit LeT in Srinagar as he was operating earlier in Srinagar and was familiar with its topography and outskirts, the police said. Police informed that the killed terrorist also had a history of terror crime cases and was wanted by law for his complicity in terror crime cases which include attacks on police and civilian killings. “He along with his associates was involved in the attack on Army Convoy on NHW Bemina Bye-pass Srinagar near JVC Hospital Srinagar in 2017, resulting in injuries to three Army Jawans. He was also the mastermind behind the attack carried out by his associates at Lawaypora Srinagar in which two SF personnel were martyred and one AK-47 rifle was also snatched,” the statement further read. The terrorist was also involved in an attack on the police party of Police Station Bandipora in which two police personnel were killed. Besides, attacks on Police or security forces, he was also involved in civilian killings which include the killing of BJP President Waseem Bari, his brother and his father in 2020, the police said. “Moreover, he was also behind the revival of terror folds by luring the gullible youth and a number of fresh recruitment of local youth into terrorist ranks. He was also instrumental in the reactivation of hardcore terrorist associates of the LeT outfit in the areas of Srinagar and Pulwama,” the statement read. Incriminating materials, arms and ammunition including one AK-47 rifle, three magazines and one grenade were recovered from his possession. All the recovered materials have been taken into case records for further investigation.
Karachi [Pakistan]: Pakistan wicketkeeper-batter Mohammad Rizwan on Thursday became the first batter to score 2,000 T20 runs in a single calendar year. He achieved the feat in the third and final T20I against West Indies here at the National Stadium, Karachi. He crossed the landmark in the 11th over of Pakistan’s batting innings. Off the 2000 runs scored in 2021, more than 1200 runs have come in 26 T20I innings for Pakistan. Rizwan and Babar Azam starred with the bat as Pakistan defeated West Indies by seven wickets in the third and final T20I here at the National Stadium on Thursday. With this win, Pakistan won the three-match series 3-0. Chasing 208, Pakistan got off to a good start as openers Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan put on 60 runs inside the first six overs. At the halfway mark, Pakistan’s score read 98/0, with the hosts needing 110 runs to win from the final 10 overs. Babar and Rizwan put on 158 runs for the opening wicket, and this saw both batters going past their fifty-run mark. Babar departed after scoring 79 while Rizwan was sent back to the pavilion after scoring 86.
Islamabad [Pakistan]: Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan asked the international community to engage with the Taliban whose foreign assets have been frozen. The Ashraf Ghani-led government in Afghanistan was overthrown in mid-August this year, and since then, the country is facing a severe financial crunch, with their foreign assets frozen, according to Geo TV. Earlier, Imran Khan said that humanitarian organisations wishing to work from Pakistan to support efforts in Afghanistan should be facilitated and that Islamabad had already committed to being the air and land bridge for humanitarian support to Kabul. However, despite Imran Khan’s appeal, the latest report of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs on Afghanistan shows concern about “conditional humanitarianism” or attempts to “leverage” humanitarian assistance for political purposes implying Pakistan’s motives. Further, on December 19, Pakistan is hosting an extraordinary session of Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Foreign Ministers in Islamabad and the issue of Afghanistan will be discussed in detail.
New Delhi [India]: India is in touch with authorities in Pakistan to send more humanitarian assistance, including wheat and life-saving medicines to Afghanistan, the External Affairs Ministry said on Thursday. “We’ll continue to provide humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan. We’re committed to sending 50,000 metric tonnes of wheat to Afghanistan,” MEA spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said during his weekly media briefing here. “India is in touch with Pakistan authorities on modalities of shipment of 50,000 metric tons of wheat and as well other medical supplies to Afghanistan through the land route,” Bagchi said. The spokesperson, however, did not comment on why India did not use the Iranian port of Chabahar Port to move wheat through Iran. Bagchi reiterated that India has a special relationship with the Afghan people and UNSC Resolution 2593 would continue to guide India’s approach to Afghanistan. Bagchi also noted that India had dispatched about 1.6 metric tonnes of medical supplies as humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan on December 11 and it was handed over to the representatives of the World Health Organization in Kabul. Pakistan had in November this year decided to allow India to transport 50,000 metric tonnes of wheat and other humanitarian goods to Afghanistan through the Wagah border in a move Islamabad said was made on an “exceptional basis” keeping in view the humanitarian crises in Afghanistan. The Taliban took over control of Kabul on August 15 and following this the country has been battered by deepening economic, humanitarian and security crisis. A combination of a suspension of foreign aid, the freezing of Afghan government assets, and international sanctions on the Taliban, have plunged a country already suffering from high poverty levels into a full-blown economic crisis. The international community, from governments to non-governmental organizations, has been providing various assistance to the Afghan people.
Islamabad [Pakistan]: Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan has warned the international community against isolating Afghanistan, saying doing so would be disadvantageous for the world. The prime minister made the comments as he chaired the second meeting of the Apex Committee on Afghanistan. During the meeting, he urged the international community to support the vulnerable people of Afghanistan, vowing that Pakistan would support the Afghan people in every possible way to avert a humanitarian crisis, Geo News reported citing a statement by the Prime Minister’s Office. The meeting was attended by Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry, Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid, Planning Minister Asad Umer, Advisor on Finance Shaukat Tarin, Advisor on Commerce Abdul Razaq Dawood, Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa, National Security Adviser Dr Moeed Yusuf, and senior civil and military officers. This comes as the Taliban is trying to gain global recognition as Afghanistan facing the worst humanitarian crisis The prime minister urged the international community to support the vulnerable people of Afghanistan, vowing that Pakistan would support the Afghan people in every possible way to avert a humanitarian crisis, the statement said. According to the statement, the premier highlighted that Pakistan has already committed to immediate relief of in-kind humanitarian assistance worth Rs5 billion, which comprises food commodities including 50,000 metric tons of wheat, emergency medical supplies, winter shelters, and other supplies. He also said that humanitarian organisations wishing to work from Pakistan to support efforts in Afghanistan should be facilitated and that Islamabad had already committed to being the air and land bridge for humanitarian support to Kabul.
New Delhi [India]: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday, on the occasion of Swarnim Vijay Diwas, recalled the great valour and sacrifices by the Muktijoddhas, Biranganas and the Indian Armed Forces and said that together we fought and defeated oppressive forces. Taking to Twitter, PM Modi said, “On the 50th Vijay Diwas, I recall the great valour and sacrifice by the Muktijoddhas, Biranganas and bravehearts of the Indian Armed Forces. Together, we fought and defeated oppressive forces. Rashtrapati Ji’s presence in Dhaka is of special significance to every Indian.” Meanwhile, President Ram Nath Kovind will witness Bangladesh’s 50th Victory Day celebrations in Dhaka today as a guest of honour. Swarnim Vijay Varsh commemorates 50 years of India’s victory in the 1971 war and the formation of Bangladesh. Last year on 16 December, Prime Minister Narendra Modi lit the Swarnim Vijay Mashaal from the Eternal Flame at the National War Memorial. He also lit four flames that were to traverse along with different directions. Since then, these four flames have traversed across the length and breadth of the country, including to Siachen, Kanyakumari, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Longewala, Rann of Kutch, Agartala. The flames were taken to key battle areas and also to the houses of gallantry award winners and veterans of the 1971 war. Today, during the Homage Ceremony, these four flames will be merged by the Prime Minister with the Eternal Flame at the National War Memorial.
New Delhi [India]: The Pakistan High Commission Tuesday issued visas to 112 Indian Hindu pilgrims for visiting Katas Raj temples in Chakwal city of Pakistan’s Punjab province. According to the Pakistan High Commission today, the group will be visiting the renowned temple compound, also known as Qila Katas between December 17 to 23, the Pakistan High Commission said in a tweet. “Today, the High Commission for Pakistan issued 112 visas to Indian Hindu pilgrims for their visit to a prominent Hindu Temple in Punjab, Pakistan. The group would be visiting Shree Katas Raj Temples, also known as Qila Katas in Chakwal district of Punjab from 17-23 December 2021,” the Embassy in India said. Katas Raj is considered one of the holiest places for the Hindu community in Pakistan. The temples form a complex surrounding a pond named Katas — which is regarded as sacred by the devotees. The visit is covered under the Pakistan-India Protocol on Visits to Religious Shrines, 1974. A large number of Sikh and Hindu pilgrims from India visit Pakistan to observe various religious festivals every year.
Kabul [Afghanistan]: In order to get the Taliban international recognition, Islamabad on Monday invited the Islamic Emirate to the summit of the Organization of the Islamic Countries which is scheduled to be held on December 19. Waliullah Shaheen, head of the Center for Strategic Studies at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said that the Afghan economy, banking system and the normalization of Afghanistan’s relations with the world are the main agenda items for the meeting, reported Tolo News. “The economy, banking system and normalization of Afghanistan’s relations with the world are the agenda items of the meeting, and we, as the foreign ministry (of Afghanistan), will participate in this meeting,” he said. In addition to the members of the OIC, Pakistan media reported that delegations from the US, Russia, Britain, the European Union, the World Bank and humanitarian organizations have also been invited to the conference. “Many Islamic countries don’t have good ties with Afghanistan. I hope these countries rebuild their relations and together make a decision on recognizing Afghanistan,” said Sayed Ishaq Gailani, head of the National Solidarity Movement of Afghanistan. The Taliban unveiled their caretaker government with Hasan Akhund, who has been under United Nations sanctions since 2001, at the helm. It has been more than 100 days since the Taliban takeover but has not been recognized by any nation of the world yet. Respect for women and human rights, establishing inclusive government, not allowing Afghanistan to become safe haven of terrorism are the preconditions for the recognition set by the international community. The Taliban has so far implemented none of these but has been promising to do so.
Islamabad [Pakistan]: China’s Ambassador to Pakistan Nong Rong on Sunday said that his country appreciates Pakistan for being against the ‘politicization’ of sports after Islamabad said that the Beijing Winter Olympics would offer “a spectacular and colourful gala to sports enthusiasts around the world.” Taking to Twitter, the envoy wrote: “Pakistan’s position to oppose any form of politicization of sports is highly appreciated. The Beijing Winter Olympic Games is not a stage for the posturing and grandstanding of politicians,” he wrote, reported Geo News. While countries like the US, UK, Australia, Lithuania and Canada has announced a diplomatic boycott of the Beijing Winter Olympics, Pakistan supported its all-weather ally and said that the Beijing Olympics would offer “a spectacular and colourful gala to sports enthusiasts around the world.” According to Xinhua News Agency, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Asim Iftikhar Ahmad, while addressing a weekly media briefing, had expressed Pakistan’s confidence in the neighbouring country’s plan to host the Beijing Winter Olympics. Per the report, Ahmad had said that the event would offer “a spectacular and colourful gala to sports enthusiasts around the world, including in Pakistan,” despite the limitations imposed by COVID-19. “The Olympic games symbolise sportsmanship, team spirit, unity, effort, struggle, and maintaining grace in competition whatever the results are,” the spokesperson had said. Meanwhile, in a symbolic protest against China’s “ongoing genocide and crimes against humanity in Xinjiang,” the Biden administration on Monday announced that it has decided not to send an official US delegation to the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing. France too has “well noted” the decision of the United States to diplomatically boycott the Winter Olympics in Beijing of 2022 and it will consult with European partners on the next step, a foreign ministry spokesperson on Tuesday.
Islamabad [Pakistan]: Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) staged a protest in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province against rising prices in the country, local media reported that the protesters were also chanting slogans against Imran Khan-led Pakistan government. The News International reported that a large number of workers and activists of Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari party demonstrated in the headquarters of two districts in Chitral and Booni. “Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf government had failed on all fronts owing to flawed economic policies,” the protesters including PPP’s Chitral general secretary Qazi Faisal said, according to the newspaper. They said that the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf government was a glaring example of mismanagement and failure to fulfil its tall promises made with people on container. In Booni, PPP Chitral activists Amirullah Khan, Hameed Jalal and others addressed the rally and blasted the Imran Khan-led party rulers for the rampant corruption and inflation. They said that the poor and youth were compelled to commit suicide due to price-hike and unemployment in the country, as per The News International. PPP Secretary General Nayyer Hussain Bokhari during a rally stated that the people of Pakistan are facing a tsunami of inflation. Due to the incompetent government, the people of the country is facing rising power and gas tariffs, high petroleum prices, and rising unemployment, Bokhari said. Referring to the Pakistani rupee’s depreciation, he said that the dollar was flying high against the country’s currency, stressing the incapable rulers have done nothing but to make people unemployed and demolish their houses. Earlier, the protest rallies held in Punjab, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, Balochistan, Sindh and in other places against the rising inflation, reported The News International. Emphasising that the people of Pakistan do not stand with Imran Khan, party chief Bilawal Bhutto Zardari in a statement had said that Khan has no right to be the prime minister without public support.
Islamabad [Pakistan]: Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) staged demonstrations against price-hike in various cities across the country on Friday with its chief Bilawal Bhutto Zardari saying that the people of the nation do not stand with Prime Minister Imran Khan. The protest rallies, held in Punjab, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, Balochistan, Sindh and in other places against the rising inflation, reported The News International. Emphasising that the people of Pakistan do not stand with Imran Khan, Zardari in a statement said that Khan has no right to be the prime minister without public support. PPP Secretary General Nayyer Hussain Bokhari during a rally stated that the people of Pakistan are facing a tsunami of inflation. Due to the incompetent government, the people of the country is facing rising power and gas tariffs, high petroleum prices, and rising unemployment, Bokhari said. Referring to the Pakistani rupee’s depreciation, he said that the dollar was flying high against the country’s currency, stressing the incapable rulers have done nothing but to make people unemployed and demolish their houses. Member of National Assembly Khursheed Shah, PPP Sindh President Nisar Khuhro, Provincial Minister Nasir Shah and others addressed rallies against inflation and said that the inept government of the PTI had done nothing for the betterment of people, according to The News International.
Islamabad [Pakistan]: More than 50 per cent of Pakistanis believe that the country is facing problems of rising inflation and unemployment due to the “incompetence” of the Imran Khan-PTI government, local media reported citing the survey of Transparency International (TI). The survey was released by Transparency International on Wednesday titled “National Corruption Perception Survey (NCPS) 2021”. The survey said that 50.6 per cent of Pakistanis see the PTI government’s incompetence behind the rising inflation whereas 23.3 per cent citizens consider corruption as the main reason for their economic woes, Dawn reported. The survey further stated that 16.6 per cent of people are of the view that lack of implementation of policies is the main reason for the rising inflation in the country. The survey shows that a majority of Pakistanis (66.8pc) consider the present government’s accountability drive as partial. The survey was conducted in the four provinces from October 14 to 27 this year, with 1,600 respondents. According to a Pakistani newspaper, the survey revealed that police remain the most corrupt sector, the judiciary was seen as second-most corrupt, tendering and contracting third most corrupt while the health sector has become the fourth most corrupt since the last NCPS conducted in 2011. According to the Judicial Statistics of Pakistan 2020 report by the National Judicial (Policy Making) Committee, there are 46,698 cases pending in Supreme Court and 1,772,990 cases pending in the district judiciary, Dawn reported. Inflation in Pakistan is on the rise and it has triggered countrywide protests by the opposition and people.
Islamabad [Pakistan]: Pakistan’s Punjab police on Wednesday arrested eight more accused for their primary role in the lynching of a Sri Lankan man in Sialkot, local media reported. Citing the reports, The Express Tribune reported that around 34 main suspects have been arrested so far, whereas the recent arrests came after the law enforcement officials traced the culprits via CCTV footage and cellular data. Last week, a mob in Pakistan’s Sialkot had tortured the Lankan national Priyantha Diyawadana to death before burning his body in Sialkot over alleged blasphemy. The incident took place in the Wazirabad Road area. Human Rights Focus Pakistan (HRFP) has condemned the killing in Sialkot. “The incident is an addition in defaming Pakistan’s image more, where several such incidents have already been happening with Christians, Hindus, and others in past and some foreigners have also been assassinated,” the HRPF chairman had said. “Rule of law and state has failed to safe the foreigners and non-Muslims which will affect on the individuals and business community also who are interested to come and start work or establish their businesses,” HRPF added.
New Delhi [India] : Air Chief Marshal Vivek Ram Chaudhari on Wednesday said Pakistan continues to sponsor terrorism despite its economic weakness and is unlikely to shed its Kashmir oriented strategy. “On the Western Front, we continue to be in no war no peace situation, Pakistan is unlikely to shed its Kashmir oriented strategy for the foreseeable future. Despite Pakistan’s own internal problems and economic weaknesses, it will continue to sponsor terrorism,” Air Chief said during his address at the 18th Subroto Mukerjee seminar organised by Centre for Air Power Studies. He mentioned that Pakistan armed forces have formulated a new concept of war-fighting and have acquired and equipped themselves with the latest technology. “Strategically, we are making a transition from fighting a predominantly defensive war to adopting a more aggressive approach for an offensive defence under the nuclear umbrella,” Air chief said. He also revealed that Pakistan Air Force has built 24 forward operating bases along with six satellite bases which provide greater flexibility and ability to influence battles across a larger spectrum. Air Chief Marshal VR Chaudhari was speaking at the 18th Subroto Mukerjee Seminar organised by at Centre for Air Power Studies (CAPS) as a chief guest. Air Chief also added that in an increasingly volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous geopolitical environment there is a strong linkage between security and development.
Islamabad [Pakistan]: Pakistan reported 431 new COVID-19 cases and eight more deaths on Friday, the National Command and Operation Center (NCOC) said on Saturday. The NCOC said that the country had confirmed overall 1,286,453 cases so far, with 1,245,344 recoveries, Xinhua reported. The country has 12,348 active cases, including 858 in critical condition. The COVID-19 pandemic claimed the lives of eight people on Friday, taking the death toll to 28,761. Pakistan’s southern Sindh province is the most affected region of the country in terms of the number of cases with 476,494 infections followed by the eastern Punjab province which has reported 443,379 infections, Xinhua reported.
Islamabad [Pakistan] : After the lynching of a Sri Lankan man in Pakistan’s Sialkot over alleged blasphemy, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan has said he would personally oversee an investigation into “the horrific vigilante attack” which he also called “a day of shame for Pakistan”. On Friday, a mob in Pakistan’s Punjab province tortured a man to death before burning his body in Sialkot. Reportedly, the workers of private factories attacked the export manager of a factory and burnt his body after killing him, Dawn newspaper reported. Taking to Twitter, Khan said: “The horrific vigilante attack on factory in Sialkot & the burning alive of Sri Lankan manager is a day of shame for Pakistan. I am overseeing the investigations & let there be no mistake all those responsible will be punished with full severity of the law. Arrests are in progress.” The foreign ministry of Sri Lanka has demanded an investigation into the matter while Amnesty international stressed an independent investigation. A large contingent of police was sent to the city of Sialkot to bring the situation under control what is being deemed as a case of alleged blasphemy. Around 100 people have been arrested so far. The incident took place in the Wazirabad Road area. Several videos doing rounds on the internet showed scores of men gathered at the site. Police said the victim has been identified as a Sri Lankan national. They added that other details would be shared with the media after the initial probe. This comes as the increasing cases of blasphemy in Pakistan continue to be a cause of concern for rights activists. Pakistan has registered thousands of blasphemy cases, which are mostly against religious minorities like Hindus, Christians, Shia and Ahmadiya Muslims from 1987 till today, according to several reports by rights groups. A large number of these blasphemy cases in Pakistan are still awaiting justice.
Punjab [Pakistan]: In yet another case of alleged blasphemy, a mob in Pakistan’s Punjab province on Friday tortured a man to death before burning his body. A large contingent of police has been sent to the city of Sialkot to bring the situation under control what is being deemed as a case of alleged blasphemy. The incident took place in the Wazirabad Road area. Reportedly, the workers of private factories attacked the export manager of a factory and burnt his body after killing him, Dawn newspaper reported. Several videos doing rounds on the internet showed scores of men gathered at the site. People can be heard chanting slogans of “Labbaik Ya Rasool Allah” in some of the videos. Police said the victim has been identified as a Sri Lankan national. They added that other details would be shared with the media after the initial probe. Punjab Province’s Chief Minister Usman Buzdar termed this incident as “very tragic”. “Every aspect of the incident should be investigated and a report should be submitted. Action should be taken against those who take the law into their own hands,” Buzdar was quoted as saying by Dawn. This comes as the increasing cases of blasphemy in Pakistan continue to be a cause of concern for rights activists. Pakistan has registered thousands of blasphemy cases, which are mostly against religious minorities like Hindus, Christians, Shia and Ahmadiya Muslims from 1987 till today, according to several reports by rights groups. A large number of these blasphemy cases in Pakistan are still awaiting justice.
Islamabad [Pakistan] : A woman rights organization in Pakistan has objected to the views expressed by their country’s Prime Minister Imran Khan on women’s divorce. This comes after Pakistan PM spoke against the “liberal values” of women in Pakistan by voicing against divorce filed by them, according to the Daily Times. Shabina Ayaz, resident director of women’s rights group Aurat Foundation said women in Pakistan should avoid tolerating violence or endure a life full of misery and violence. “It’s wrong that our society and culture tell women that once they’re married they should accept it until death,” Ayaz said. Earlier, Imran Khan had objected to divorce in a manner that makes it a discouraging act even for those women who are bearing the brunt of abusive and violent marriages. Earlier, a report by the US Department of State stated that women who are harmed by their husbands are “reluctant to pursue charges because of the stigma attached to divorce and their economic and psychological dependence on relatives.” Gender equality is far from being practised fully in Pakistan’s society and more than half of abusive marriages in Pakistani society are saved from divorce just because the woman has learnt to compromise with her husband, according to the Daily Times.
Islamabad [Pakistan] : In an embarrassment to Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan, the country’s embassy in Serbia on Friday shared a public message on its social media handle asking people “aap ne ghabrana nahi”. The Twitter handle shared a video in which it raised questions over Khan’s so-called “Naya Pakistan” pitch and asked how long does the government expect its officials to remain silent when they have not been paid for the last three months. Video shared by the Pakistan embassy shows that how the people of the country are making do under “severe” poverty. It also depicted the miserable condition of the government employees under Imran Khan’s regime, stating that they have been working unpaid for the last three months and their children are being forced out of schools due to non-payment of their fees.
“With inflation breaking all previous records, how long do you expect @ImranKhanPTI that we goverment official will remain silent & keep working for you without been paid for past 3 months & our children been forced out of school due to non-payment of fees Is this #NayaPakistan?,” the embassy in Serbia tweeted. The tweet comes with a music video mocking Imran Khan’s dialogue ‘Aapne ghabrana nahi’. “If soap becomes costlier, don’t use. If wheat becomes dearer, please don’t eat,” the lyrics of the song said with Imran Khan’s ‘aapne ghabrana nahi’ video inserted in between. In another Tweet, Pakistan Embassy in Serbia said: “I am sorry @ImranKhanPTI, am not left with another option.”
Reports said that the inflation in Pakistan has risen to 11.5 per cent from 9.2 per cent earlier this week, the highest spike in the last 20 months. In November the inflation rate in the country was over 9 per cent with per capita income decreasing to USD 1,260 in 2021. According to The New International, the country’s economy which was increased by 36 per cent during 2013-2018 has now nosedived by 16 per cent from 2018-2020. Therefore the per capita income that stood at USD 1,482 in 2018 tumbled to USD 1,194 in 2020 which has been estimated by IMF at USD 1,260 in 2021 still showing the fact that the purchasing power parity has eroded a lot, reported The News International. The bad governance and wrong decisions at the highest level of first exporting sugar then importing it and the same with wheat and flour coupled with discouraging cultivation of pulses and cotton also played a vital role in increasing the food inflation and importing over USD 1 billion cotton further resulted in the devaluation of the rupee.
Islamabad [Pakistan] : Pakistan is trying to mend its ties with Saudi Arabia in order to get financial help to revive its crumbling economy. While Pakistan has hailed its ‘brotherly’ relations with Saudi Arabia, it is evident that its new ‘brotherhood’ with Saudi Arabia comes at a time when Pakistan is on the brink of a financial crisis, according to the Times of Israel. “The Pakistani economy has been faltering, with an imminent balance of payment crisis and the country increasingly dependent on external debts to stay afloat. Given its inability to negotiate with the International Monetary Fund for release of USD 1 billion,” wrote Sergio Restelli, an analyst for the Times of Israel. Despite this, Saudi Arabia has pledged financial assistance package which includes about $ US 3 billion in deposits and $ 1.2 billion to USD 1.5 billion worth of oil supplies on deferred payments to bail Pakistan of its never-ending financial crisis. Earlier, Saudi Arabia had demanded early repayment of a $3 billion loan to Pakistan and refused to renew a $3.2 billion oil credit facility considering Islamabad’s poorly performing economy. Pakistan is desperate to get help from countries like Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates compromising on its proclaimed strategic autonomy. Despite Saudi Arabia’s financial assistance, Pakistan was to blame for the souring relationship with the Arab country as it clearly lacks geopolitical acumen, economic heft, and ideological leadership had been making attempts to create a substantial international bloc, according to the Times of Israel. Further, Pakistan failed to note that both Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates share deep strategic and economic ties with India. Traditionally, India has been a more viable partner for the two countries. India’s total trade with Saudi Arabia has been over $ US33 billion which is better than Pakistan. In contrast, Pakistan’s trade with Saudi Arabia has been around $ US 3.6 billion, a tenth. Further, India-Saudi ties had been strengthened further with the signing of defence cooperation pact adding to Pakistan’s problem
Islamabad [Pakistan]: Pakistan’s Awami National Party on Monday slammed the Imran Khan government for showing disinterest in Dir Expressway Developmental Project. The remarks came from ANP spokesperson and former senator Zahid Khan, who claimed that 90 million dollars earmarked by a Korean bank for construction of 120 kilometres Chakdara to Dir expressway had lapsed due to disinterest of the incumbent Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government, reported The News International. “Korean bank had taken back 90 million dollars it had provided during the previous government of PML-N for the construction of 120 kilometres Chakdara to Dir expressway,” he informed media persons. In previous months, Dir Qaami Pasoon (DQP), a non-political organisation working for the uplift of Dir had also demanded the government to take practical steps for initiating and completing development projects in the district reported Pakistan newspaper Dawn News. Speaking at a press conference at Timergara Press Club, DQP representatives Akbar Khan, Ali Shah Mishwani, Umar Zada and others claimed that the government wanted to abandon the Dir expressway project that had a vital importance for the region.
London [UK]: Muttahidda Qaumi Movement’s (MQM) founder Altaf Hussain has said that properties of Mohajirs in Karachi are being demolished to make room for China to convert Karachi into a remote Satellite colony of Punjab and to accommodate China in the region.
The government of Pakistan has entered into an agreement with China in this regard. As per the agreement, the Pakistan military would help China in demolishing buildings in Karachi for new construction and Karachi will become a satellite state of Punjab like Hong Kong. Hussain made the revelation in his telephonic address to the Mohajir nation. He strongly condemned the Supreme Court’s orders for the demolition of the Nasla Tower, a residential project in Karachi. The demolition of properties of Mohajirs in Karachi on the order of the country’s apex court judge on Pakistan military’s orders is a sheer manifest of economic carnage of Mohajirs.
Hussain said that the demolition of settlements in Karachi was earlier ordered by the former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court Saqib Nisar.
After demolishing thousands of houses, shops and markets in Gujar Nala, Railway Colony, Moosa Colony, Gharibabad, Orangi Town, Garden, Empress Market, Allah Din Park and other areas in Karachi, Chief Justice Gulzar Ahmad ordered to eliminate a multi-storey residential building in Karachi, the Nasla tower.
Residents who had legally bought the apartments with NOC for their children are being evicted and the Nasla Tower is being demolished while none of the people who built the tower was asked. He said, like the people of Nasla Tower and other areas of Karachi have been evicted from their legal houses, if Justice Saqib Nisar and Justice Gulzar Ahmed were evicted from their homes without giving any reason, what would they feel?
He said that both Chief Justice Saqib Nisar and Chief Justice Gulzar Ahmad were oppressors. “Their heinous crimes are enough to sentence them to death by hanging for many days,” he commented. Hussain said that the widespread demolition in Karachi on orders of sitting judges at the behest of the demonic military of Pakistan is a pre-planned scheme to accommodate China which would in return convert Karachi into a satellite colony of Punjab.
The government of Pakistan has agreed with China to keep Punjab in the image of Pakistan and with it to make Karachi, the capital of Sindh, a satellite state of Punjab like Hong Kong. The Chinese have agreed to this. The MQM Supremo said that as many legitimate and leased houses and shops of the citizens have been demolished in Karachi, the traitors of the Mohajir nation are equally complicit in the crime.
Hussain said that the standard of the Supreme Court is double, it is demolishing the Nasla Tower of Karachi but it regularised the illegal Grand Hyatt Tower of Islamabad because it had flats of military generals, judges of the Supreme Court and other influential elites. Similarly, former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court Saqib Nisar had regularised the illegal occupation of Bani Gala by the present Prime Minister Imran Khan with a small fine.
He said that houses of citizens were being demolished in Karachi but commercial plazas, wedding halls, cinemas and other business centres on the lands allotted for military purposes remained intact. The Supreme Court did not give orders to demolish them. He said that the Supreme Court’s Karachi registry which has been declaring the settlements of Karachi as illegal is constructed on the occupied sewage drain itself.
He said that the Supreme Court, which had ordered the demolition of legitimate settlements of Mihajirs in Karachi, did not see any illegal settlements of the non-local population in the periphery of Karachi. Hussain strongly condemned the arson attacks on Karachi’s Cooperative Market, Victoria Market and Mobile Market and said that hundreds of shops belonging to Mohajirs were set ablaze. He said that these incidents of arson were part of a conspiracy.
He said the irony is that the most corrupt former Chief Justice Saqib Nisar had shamelessly held another most corrupt, the sitting Prime Minister Imran Khan as the most pious man. Saqib Nisar himself is a very corrupt and deceitful person who collected billions from Pakistanis in the name of building a dam but to this day the nation does not know where that money was spent.
He strongly condemned the anti-Karachi local body law passed by the PPP’ provincial government in Sindh and said that we will save Karachi from the tyranny of the feudal elites. We the Mohajirs and Sindhis will eliminate the feudal lords and liberate the land of Sindh. (ANI)
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa [Pakistan]: At least one man was injured in Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province after riots broke out over reports about the burning of the Holy Quran at a mosque on Sunday. The incident took place in Tangi tehsil of Charsadda district where police resorted to firing in the air and teargas shelling to disperse an unruly mob that vandalised a police station, Dawn newspaper reported. The report said that protestors destroyed the area’s main police station, four posts and several residential quarters of police. According to the report, the enraged protesters broke into the compound of the police station, set on fire at least 17 vehicles parked there. The person who had allegedly torched the Quran was apparently mentally deranged, adding that the accused was immediately taken into custody and shifted to an unknown location, Dawn reported quoted the Police. “Apparently, the accused is mentally unstable and he cannot speak.” After news about the burning of the Quran spread in the area, scores of people encircled the police station. In a bid to pacify the protestors, local officials held talks with them. However, the situation went out of control when the mob demanded handing over of the accused. Police added the protesters were demanding handing over of the accused. “Some were asking for the summary execution of the accused.”
Islamabad [Pakistan]: The Election Commission of Pakistan on Sunday directed the Punjab Inspector General of Police (IGP) to submit a report on the alleged ‘purchase of votes’ in Lahore. This came after videos posted, circulated on social media showed a scene where votes are purchased for money. As reported by Samaa TV, one of the videos shows what appears to be a party office of the Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz. (PML-N) The video went viral a few days before Lahore’s NA-133 by-polls that are scheduled to take place on December 5. As per the purported video, people sitting behind the desk could be seen making women pledge that they would vote for the PMLN in the December 5 by-polls. “I swear with my hand on the Quran that on the fifth date [of December] I would vote for Muslim League Noon [PMLN],” repeats each of the women after the alleged PLMN workers. As seen in the viral video, the voters were receiving Pakistan Rs 2,000 after making the pledge. Meanwhile, the other video showed male voters taking a similar pledge. After the video went viral, the Election Commission sent a notice to the Lahore commissioner and the Punjab police chief, seeking their help in identifying the individuals in the video. As reported by Express Tribune, the notice was also served to the National Database and Registration Authority (Nadra) chairman and the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) chairman.
Islamabad [Pakistan]: Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan on Sunday admitted that the country has not achieved its potential due to a lack of rule of law in the country. In an exclusive online conversation with Shaykh Hamza Yusuf aired Sunday, Prime Minister said that the elite captured Pakistan’s resources and the absence of rule of law had not only deprived the majority of the people of basic amenities but also kept the country from achieving its immense potential, according to The News International. “The problem was the elite capture of resources which deprived the majority of proper healthcare, education and justice… Lack of rule of law is the reason why Pakistan had not achieved its potential,” he said today. “Merit is also associated with rule of law. If you do not have a meritocracy in a society, you have this elite which is spoiled, rich and which did not strive and struggle and they sit on the main positions… “Countries disintegrate because of a decadent elite. People do not decay it is the elite that decays,” he said further. Lauding his so-called government, Imran Khan also claimed that the ruling government wants to make Pakistan an Islamic Welfare State based on the principles of Riyasat-e-Medina and is working on the fast track to achieving this objective, ARY News reported.
Islamabad, [Pakistan] : Amid the global threat of a new COVID variant ‘Omnicron’, Pakistan has reported over 303 COVID-19 cases and five more people have succumbed to the infection in the last 24 hours on Sunday, taking the death toll to 28,709. According to Pakistan’s National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC), coronavirus has claimed five more lives in the country during the last 24 hours, taking the death toll to 28,709. “Statistics 28 Nov 21: Total Tests in Last 24 Hours: 36,979 Positive Cases: 303 Positivity %: 0.81% Deaths : 5 Patients on Critical Care: 946,” NCOC tweeted. A total of 36,979 samples were tested in the last 24 hours, out of which 303 turned out to be positive, showing an infection rate of 0.81 per cent. At present, 946 critical patients have been admitted to hospitals across the country, the NCOC said. On Saturday, Federal Planning Minister Asad Umar had announced that the NCOC decided to place the ban on seven countries amid fears of new Covid variant Omicron spreading more speedily than ever, and he stressed the urgency to vaccinate against the virus for everyone above 12 years of age, according to ARY News. The emergence of a new variant makes it even more urgent to vaccinate all eligible citizens 12 years and older, Asad Umar had said in a tweet. Taking to Twitter following NCOC decision to put back in place the travel restrictions, the federal minister had stressed how the new variant is causing ripples of worry globally. “Based on the emergence of the new covid variant, notification has been issued to restrict travel from 6 south African countries and Hong Kong,” he said, according to ARY News.
Islamabad [Pakistan]: Pakistan on Saturday restricted travel from six southern African nations and Hong Kong amid rising concerns over the newly detected variant of COVID-19. Taking to Twitter, Pakistan Federal Planning and Development Minister Asad Umar on Saturday said , “the emergence of new variant makes it even more urgent to vaccinate all eligible citizens 12 years and older”, Dawn reported. “Based on the emergence of the new covid variant, notification has been issued to restrict travel from 6 south African countries and Hong Kong. The emergence of new variant makes it even more urgent to vaccinate all eligible citizens 12 years and older,” Umar tweeted. The new Omicron variant, which has been detected first in South Africa, has escalated tensions across the world as it is considered more dangerous than the delta variant.It has been declared as a ‘variant of concern’ by the World Health Organization (WHO) on Friday. WHO identified the new South African strain as one of concern, as it is reported to carry a high number of mutations — 32 — which possibly makes it more transmissible and dangerous. he WHO has dubbed it Omicron, the 15th letter of the Greek alphabet. Following the reports about the new variant, the United States, the European Union, Canada, Israel, Australia and other countries have restricted travel from several southern African nations over the health concerns.
New Delhi [India]: India summoned a senior Pakistani High Commission diplomat on the 26/11 Mumbai attacks anniversary and reiterated its call for an expeditious trial in the terror case.
The Ministry of External Affairs, in a statement issued on Friday, said a note verbale was handed over to the senior diplomat calling on the Government of Pakistan to abide by its commitment to not allow territories under its control for terrorism against India.
“Senior diplomat from the High Commission of Pakistan in India was summoned by the Ministry of External Affairs today. A Note Verbale reiterating India’s call for an expeditious trial in the Mumbai terror attacks case, and calling on the Government of Pakistan to abide by its commitment to not allow territories under its control for terrorism against India was handed over to him, the MEA statement read.
On the 13th anniversary of the 26/11 Mumbai terrorist attacks, the Indian Government and its people somberly remember the victims of this dastardly attack and the valiant security personnel who laid down their lives to protect the people.
According to the MEA, the President, Prime Minister and External Affairs Minister, in separate messages, have expressed their firm solidarity with the families of the victims.
Meanwhile, a solemn memorial event was organised earlier today by the State Government of Maharashtra at the Police Memorial in Mumbai, the release added.
Fourteen other countries lost their nationals in these attacks. Indian Missions in these countries are organizing memorial events remembering the victims, both national and foreign, reminding the world of the continuing global threat of terrorism. Senior government representatives from the host Governments, family members of victims and survivors will be participating in these solemn events, the statement read.
“It is a matter of deep anguish that even after 13 years of this heinous terror attack, the families of 166 victims from 15 countries across the globe still await closure, with Pakistan showing little sincerity in bringing the perpetrators to justice,” it added.
The MEA said that the 26/11 terrorist attack was planned, executed and launched from Pakistani territory. The former Prime Minister of Pakistan had gone on record and admitted that the terrorists were sent from Pakistan’s soil, it added.
“We once again call on the Government of Pakistan to give up double standards and to expeditiously bring the perpetrators of the horrific attack to justice. This is not just a matter of Pakistan’s accountability to the families of the innocent victims who fell to terrorists, but also an international obligation,” the MEA statement said.
The Government of India will continue to make every effort to seek justice for the families of the victims and the martyrs, it said further.
Islamabad [Pakistan]: Pakistani police have arrested four men charged with blasphemy following an argument with a religious cleric, Al Jazeera reported on Thursday. Media reports say that the arrest was made in the eastern city of Lahore after an argument about whether a funeral announcement for a Christian neighbour could be made from a mosque. The report said that the four men were charged under sections 295 and 298 of Pakistan’s penal code, which carry penalties of up to two years in prison. The case occurred in the village near Lahore on November 18, Al Jazeera reported citing a local police official Faryad. “The men have been detained and we have presented them before the court,” he said. According to the police report, the men argued with a local cleric after he refused to make a funeral announcement for a Christian man from his mosque. Nadeem Anthony, human rights activist and lawyer has rebuked the case against four men as being unfounded. “If there was a Muslim who in good faith wants to have an announcement such as this made in the community, it’s not an attack on someone’s faith, it’s a good cause,” said Anthony. This comes as the increasing cases of blasphemy registered in Pakistan which continues to be a cause of concern for rights activists. Pakistan has registered around 1600 blasphemy cases, which are mostly against religious minorities like Hindus, Christians, Shia and Ahmadiya Muslims from 1987 till today, according to several reports by rights groups. A large number of these blasphemy cases in Pakistan are still awaiting justice.
Islamabad [Pakistan] : Pakistan reported 363 new confirmed cases of COVID-19, taking the cumulative caseload to 1,283,223, the National Command and Operation Center (NCOC) said on Thursday. The death toll reached 28,690 after 13 people have lost lives in the last 24 hours, reported Xinhua citing NCOC. Additionally, 1,002 COVID-19 patients are in critical condition. Reportedly, Pakistan’s southern Sindh province has been facing the brunt of the pandemic and is the worst hit, with a total of 474,772 cases. Sindh is followed by the eastern Punjab province of Pakistan where a total of 442,714 people have been infected by COVID-19, reported Xinhua. As per NCOC, the total number of recoveries in the country has reached 1,240,995, reported Xinhua citing NCOC.
New Delhi [India] : Two e-mails threatening to kill former Indian cricketer and Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) MP Gautam Gambhir were sent from Pakistan, Delhi Police sources said on Thursday. According to the sources, the account handler has been identified as Sahid Hamid. The BJP MP had said that he had received two death threats via e-mails within 24 hours from “ISIS Kashmir”. “We are going to kill you and your family,” read the first threat e-mail received from ‘ISIS Kashmir’. The second threat mail read, “We intended to kill you, but you survived yesterday. If you love the life of your family, stay away from politics and the Kashmir issue.” Following the threats, security has been beefed up outside Gambhir’s residence. The senior officials of Delhi Police have also informed that Gambhir’s complaint was marked to the Cyber Cell of the Special Cell to know the source of the mail. Further investigation is underway.
Islamabad [Pakistan]: Prime Minister Imran Khan has directed the government authorities to undertake an inquiry against a senior joint secretary of the Cabinet Division for mocking the Pakistan Tareek-e-Insaf (PTI) government on social media. According to a statement of allegations issued by Pakistan’s Establishment Division on Monday, BS-21 officer Hammad Shamimi had posted a comment on social media that was tantamount to misconduct under the Civil Servants (Efficiency and Discipline) Rules, 2020. As reported by Pakistan media Dawn News, Shamimi has posted a comment in which he defined ‘similarity’ between the PTI government and the Taliban group in Afghanistan. “A similarity between the PTI and the Taliban is that both are figuring out how to run the government only after assuming power. And the centre of hope for both of them is Aabpara,” the senior PTI official said in the comment. Meanwhile, an inquiry has been ordered against Shamimi in light of the said allegations. As reported by Dawn News, the inquiry order against him reads: “The Prime Minister in his capacity as ‘Authority’ is pleased to appoint Sanaullah Abbasi (PSWBS-22), Director General, FIA, Islamabad, as Inquiry Officer to conduct inquiry proceedings against Hammad Shamimi (SGTBS-21), Senior Joint Secretary, Cabinet Division, Islamabad.” Late in August, Pakistan Establishment Division had issued a notification barring government servants from participating in any media platform except with the permission of the government.
Islamabad [Pakistan]: Pakistan government has released more than 100 Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) prisoners as a “goodwill gesture” to reciprocate the ceasefire announced by the group earlier this month, local media reported. The majority of the freed Pakistani Taliban prisoners were undergoing de-radicalisation and rehabilitation at the internment centres set up by the government, The Express Tribune reported citing government officials. “Most of the released inmates have not completed a six-month mandatory de-radicalisation and rehabilitation programme,” one official said. “The rest were ordinary foot soldiers.” According to the Pakistani daily, the officials also clarified that the prisoners were not released in compliance with any demand from the TTP, which is currently engaged in negotiations with the government. “The Taliban prisoners were released as a goodwill gesture,” the official added. Pakistan and the TTP entered into a month-long truce starting November 9. The ceasefire was the result of a series of meetings held between the Pakistani officials and the TTP representatives in Afghanistan. The talks were brokered by the Taliban government, particularly the Haqqani network. Both sides held at least three rounds of talks–one in Kabul and the other two meetings took place in Khost. The opposition parties have criticised the Imran Khan led-PTI government for entering into an agreement with the TTP. Earlier, Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari said, “No one was taken into confidence on the issue of talks with the banned TTP and no consensus was reached in this regard.”
Islamabad, Pakistan: FATA, a 27,200-square-kilometer belt along Pakistan’s mountainous northwestern border, has been treated differently than the rest of the country since the country’s independence from the British in 1947. The ‘Excluded Area’ device was retained in Pakistan’s constitutions of 1958 and 1962. The Federally Administrated Tribal Areas (FATA), located in northwest Pakistan near the Afghan border, is one of the world’s most danger zones and has served as a base for jihad and terrorism in South Asia. FATA people are treated differently than the rest of Pakistan because they are governed by imperial rules and have been harmed by extremism and military operations.
The Federally Administered Tribal Areas (hereinafter FATA) are a special-status region in northwest Pakistan. It is bounded to the east by the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) province, to the south by the Balochistan province, and to the west by Afghanistan. FATA covers 27,220 km, or 3.4 percent of Pakistan’s territory, and is home to just over 3.1 million people, or 2.4 percent of the country’s population, according to the 1998 demographic survey , the most recent available survey. FATA’s rural population accounts for roughly 97 percent of the total, indicating the region’s traditional way of life.
Since 2001, when hundreds of terrorists, including al-Qaeda fighters, withdrew there from Afghanistan’s disintegrating Taliban administration, it has been a flashpoint. The existence of a large number of terrorists in this undeveloped and neglected region gave rise to the indigenous Tehrik-e- Taliban Pakistan (TTP or Pakistani Taliban) movement, which upset the region’s centuries-old tribal traditions and power dynamics.
FATA quickly became a shelter for various types of militants, including local Pakistani militants as well as militants from other countries, primarily Afghans, Arabs, Uzbeks, Chechens, and Uighurs. De-escalating this hub of uncontrolled militancy is critical for Pakistan’s peace and security, regional stability, and both East and West’s global interests. However economic complaints must be addressed, and the rule of law must be extended to and enforced in FATA.
The chaotic situation in Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) implies important effects and serious implications for education, particularly higher education, throughout the tribal belt. Surprisingly, no comprehensive study has been performed to look into the aspects of FATA higher education that have been negatively impacted since 9/11.
In fact, higher education in the FATA region has its own set of characteristics. The tribal region as a whole has a shortage of well-maintained and appropriately furnished colleges. The lack of proper educational facilities, compounded by a hostile security environment, has complicated the problem. The region’s law and order crisis has weakened the education department’s already weakened monitoring system. This state of things provides fertile ground for extremist and radical impulses to flourish. In fact, the education system in tribal areas has received relatively little attention. Due to the proactive engagement of the international community, the entire setup needs to be restored. FATA has been beaten and poor for decades due to internal fighting and competition. The tribal territory as a whole has been troubled by instability, social dissatisfaction, and insecurity. The education industry, particularly higher education, has been particularly heavily damaged. All courses, institutions, and teaching staff involved in transmitting knowledge above the intermediate level are referred to as higher education.
The social, cultural, and economic institutions of Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) were severely destroyed when terrorists emerged in the 1990s, impacting women’s lives the most. Basic services such as health and education were restricted, and women’s mobility was restricted to the point where they were unable to see a doctor, attend school, or engage in social activities. Worse, militants in FATA physically abused locals. In this region, where more than 60% of the population lives below the national poverty line, the lack of law and order has had a direct impact on the region’s overall economic and social standing.
In Pakistan’s tribal groups, the inability to obtain official justice has long been a source of tension. Even though the Supreme Court declared informal jirgas illegal, they remain an important (although informal) aspect of the legal system, offering quick justice that is in line with local values. Women’s access to justice has significantly improved, but significant investment is required to make legal institutions more gender responsive.
FATA has been gradually returning to “sanity” since 2014, following the creation of peace and government efforts to bring significant reforms to the province. A bill to integrate the FATA region with the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) province was passed as the first significant step toward this transition. Steps like this toward mainstreaming FATA’s isolated tribal communities can considerably improve people’s lives, especially their access to basic rights like education.
Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas, or FATA, ceased to exist on May 31, 2018. These seven tribal districts, which are home to five million people and cover more than 27,000 square kilometres, have received considerable worldwide attention in the previous two decades due to their shared border with war-torn Afghanistan. By combining the tribal agencies with the nearby province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan’s government has put an end to FATA’s century-long special status (KP).Poor governance and decades of conflict in Afghanistan had left the region vulnerable to insurgency and deprivation.
Because of Pakistan’s persistent economic collapse and social instability, as well as the country’s weak political structure and growing cooperation with Western countries. Talibanization is spreading in Pakistan’s tribal areas. It is primarily characterized as extremism, violent action, and mass activism, all of which will have a big impact on Pakistan’s political stability and force Western military forces to remain in Afghanistan for a long time. Those hardline religious elements and separatists will also put a strain on China-“all-weather” Pakistan’s partnership.
If we draw this conclusion, we might claim that the people of the Tribal Areas have been forced to remain in ‘tribalism’ as a result of legal exclusions. The system imposed on the inhabitants of FATA is not much better than the Taliban’s terror regime. Only by establishing the Rule of Law can peace be accomplished, which necessitates not only a large financial effort but also a strong political commitment. An obvious first step would be to expand the higher court’s jurisdiction to the tribal areas of FATA. Steps must be taken to establish a legal economy in the FATA. Tribals are awaiting for better days since long.
Balochistan [Pakistan]: In solidarity with protestors staging a sit-in against the unnecessary check posts and fishing trawlers in Gwadar district of Balochistan province, hundreds of children took to the streets on Sunday, local media reported. Carrying placards and banners inscribed with demands “Gwadar ko haq do” (Give rights to Gwadar), the children marched on various roads of the city and later joined the main sit-in, Dawn reported. Speaking on the occasion, Maulana Hidayat Ullah Baloch, who led the rally, criticised the elected representatives of Gwadar and Makran and asked them to join the sit-in or resign from the assembly as they had been elected to represent them, the Pakistani publication reported. He said the representatives who did not visit their constituency should be included in a list of missing persons. Maulana Baloch said that despite the deployment of various security agencies, hundreds of illegal trawlers were involved in illegal fishing in Balochistan’s waters, depriving local fishermen of their livelihood. He asked the authorities concerned to take steps for stopping illegal fishing immediately and seal all liquor stores in the province. “Otherwise people will destroy them,” Dawn reported. Further, Maulana Baloch called for the recovery of all disappeared people and said if they were involved in any crime they must be produced before a court of law. “If our demands are not met, we will continue the sit-in for 127 days in order to break the record of Imran Khan who staged his sit-in for 126 days,” he said. Balochistan is a resource-rich but least developed province of Pakistan where a movement for freedom has been ongoing for the past several decades. Many Balochs believe that the region was independent before 1947 and was forcibly occupied by Pakistan. While successive governments have promised to criminalise enforced disappearance, none has taken concrete steps and the practice continues with impunity. Recently, fighting between the Pakistan security forces and Baloch insurgents have intensified in the region. In its 2020 Country Reports on Human Rights, the US State Department has highlighted significant human rights issues in Pakistan, including unlawful or arbitrary killings by the government and forced disappearance of Pashtun, Sindhi and Baloch human rights activists.
Islamabad [Pakistan]: Accusing the Imran Khan government of pushing Pakistan into a quagmire of problems, Pakistan opposition leader Bilawal Bhutto Zardari has called on the people to reject the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) in the next elections. The Pakistan Peoples Party Chairman visited the mausoleum of Pir Syed Amin Al Hasnat, Leader of Tehreek-e-Pakistan in Manki Sharif, The News International reported. Bilawal Bhutto Zardari said that the people of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa had put up the most resistance against Talibanisation. He called on Prime Minister Imran Khan’s government to make public the details of talks with the Pakistani Taliban. “I have always received love from here. The referendum was won in favour of Pakistan thanks to Pir of Manki Sharif. The sacrifices of the people of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa against terrorism cannot be forgotten,” he said He said that KP had put up the most resistance against TalibBanisation, the government should make public the details of talks with TTP, Imran Khan had pushed Pakistan into a quagmire of problems. The people should reject the so-called change in the next elections. Pakistan government and the TTP have agreed on a complete ceasefire. The Taliban dispensation’s Acting Interior Minister Sirajuddin Haqqani mediated talks between the two sides for the past two weeks in the southeastern province of Khost, reported Tolo News. TTP has been active in several parts of Pakistan since 2007 and is responsible for carrying out several attacks and blasts in the country.
New Delhi [India]: International Cricket Council (ICC) chairman Greg Barclay on Monday admitted that India touring Pakistan for the 2025 Champions Trophy would be challenging, but in the end, the apex body cannot control geopolitical tensions. Last week, the ICC had confirmed the 14 host countries of the ICC men’s white-ball events from 2024-2031. The Champions Trophy is back and Pakistan will host the tournament in 2025. “Yeah, we know it is a particularly challenging issue to work through, but from my point of view, I cannot control geopolitical forces. I just hope cricket can be a force to help improve relationships between countries. That is the one great thing sport can do is to help people and nations come together. If it can help in contributing to that, then it is fantastic,” said Barclay while replying to an ANI query during a roundtable with select media. Over the last two years, all international teams have been big on workload management in order to ensure that their players are available for selection in ICC events. However, while answering to an ANI query, ICC CEO Geoff Allardice said he does not think the charm of the bilateral series will go away. “I do not think the charm of bilateral cricket will go away. You will see a different range of players, in particular at the moment where people are moving in and out of bubbles, you will see players rotated a little more than normal time but judging by the reaction to the series that recently concluded in India, it does not look like that the appeal of bilateral cricket has diminished much at all,” said Allardice. ICC is looking to get cricket included in the Olympics, and it is safe to say that the T20 format is the way to do that. However, the ICC senior management does not think that the other formats will take a backseat and there is room for every format to co-exist. “ICC cricket calendar is shaped across all three formats. I know in some of our developing countries, T20 cricket has been more of a focus. Each country has been given status for its men’s and women’s events. There has been a global ranking system, but in certainly the developed or more traditional countries, there is a strong programme for three formats of the game,” said Allardice. When asked whether TRPs do take a hit when India bow out of global events early, Allardice said: “In the end, we put on a tournament and teams make their own fortune in the way they play. One of the things we cannot control is how teams perform in an event. Our role is to put the best event we can.” Talking about the World Test Championship, the ICC CEO said: “We are just going through an exercise for the men’s future programmes. The reaction from the teams that played in the first cycle was very positive. I think those of you that saw the finals walked away thinking that this is a good addition to the cricket calendar. It brings context to Test cricket which previously did not exist. It did not exist globally, it existed on a series-to-series basis.” “We do have some constraints that we need to work around. Teams share different seasons, other leagues are played over shorter periods and there are regular fixtures. As a league, it is different from other sporting competitions, overall to bring global meaning to the Test series has been a welcome addition,” he added.
Dhaka [Bangladesh]: Mohammad Rizwan (40) and Haider Ali (45) starred with the bat as Pakistan defeated Bangladesh by five wickets in the third and final T20I here at the Shere Bangla National Stadium, Dhaka on Monday. With this win, Pakistan won the three-match series 3-0 and now both teams will square off in a two-match Test series, beginning on Friday in Chittagong. Chasing 125, Pakistan started cautiously and posted only 28 runs at the end of the Powerplay. Bangladesh then got a breakthrough as the Babar Azam was dismissed by Aminul Islam in the very next over, leaving the team’s total on 32/1. Rizwan and Haider then stabilized Pakistan’s ship and got the scoreboard moving. But in the 16th over, Bangladesh broke the duo’s partnership and dismissed Rizwan on 40. The game turned on its head in the last over as Mahmudullah sent three Pakistan batters back to the dugout — Haider Ali, Sarfaraz Ahmed, and Iftikhar Ahmed — but that wasn’t enough for Bangladesh as Mohammad Nawaz hit a boundary and took his side home in the nail-biting thriller. Earlier, opting to bat first, Bangladesh lost early wickets. Opening batter Mohammad Naim played a knock 47 runs and took his side to a decent total of 124/7 in 20 overs. Brief scores: Bangladesh 124/7 (Mohammad Naim 47, Shamim Hossain 22; Mohammad Wasim Jr 2/15) vs Pakistan: 127/5 (Haider Ali 45, Mohammad Rizwan 40; Mahmudullah 3/10).
Islamabad [Pakistan]: The Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) on Saturday said some clauses of the Protection of Journalists and Media Professionals Act 2021 could be used to frame a media person in a false case and that should have been avoided, local media reported. The bill was approved by the National Assembly on November 8 and the Senate on Friday, Dawn reported. According to the Pakistani publication, the treasury side approved the bill without forwarding it to the relevant standing committee. Later, Minister for Information and Broadcasting Chaudhry Fawad Hussain congratulated working journalists over the passage of the bill in a tweet saying: “The law would, for the first time, give working journalists the same rights the journalist community enjoyed in highly developed societies,” Dawn reported. Meanwhile, PFUJ secretary general Nasir Zaidi said Clause 6 (3) of the Act could be used by any government to frame journalists and it should have been amended, the publication said. “These are thin lines that are always placed in such laws that could be used against any individual or organisation,” Zaidi said. Clause 6 of the Act states: “All journalists and media professionals must respect the rights and reputation of others and not produce material that advocates national, racial, ethnical, religious, sectarian, linguistic, cultural or gender-based hatred which may constitute an incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence,” Dawn reported. Zaidi said these restrictions were also present in other laws and such a connotation in the Act could have been avoided if it would have been finalised after consultation in the Senate standing committee.
Islamabad [Pakistan]: Expressing serious concerns over the ongoing gas crisis across Pakistan, PPP Chairperson Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari on Sunday slammed the Imran Khan government for its “incompetency”, saying that the solution of all problems of the public lies in the ouster of the ruling PTI-led government. Bhutto said that Imran Khan’s PTI is continuously creating crisis and increasing the miseries of the people, Geo News reported. Pakistan PM should apologise to the citizens who are starving due to the policies of the PTI-led government, he said. Over the prevailing gas crisis, Bhutto said that there would be no gas crisis in the country if the government would have imported LNG timely. He also said that increase in gas prices by the PTI government has affected the general public. This comes a day after PPP Chairman on Friday met with the Chief of Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM), and decided to adopt a joint strategy against the Imran Khan government. Zardari met Maulana Fazlur Rehman who is leading the alliance of major opposition parties, the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM). The meeting came days after PDM announced to hold ‘mehngai’ march across Pakistan before going ahead with a long march towards Islamabad. The PDM informed that the rallies against the government over rising inflation would be held in Karachi, Quetta, Lahore and Peshawar. In other recent developments, the Imran Khan government has announced a hike in the price of petrol by Pakistani Rs 8.03 per litre, a day after the Prime Minister also warned the nation that fuel prices would have to undergo an increase. Besides, reports suggest that the rate of inflation in Pakistan is the fourth highest in the world which could lead to unrest and protests against the Imran Khan government. Citing an incident in a family of Karachi, Shah Meer Baloch wrote in The Guardian that a shoe-seller set himself on fire as he could not meet his expenses or send money home due to the “skyrocketing prices.”
Islamabad [Pakistan]: Amid the rising mistrust among Chinese investors over the safety and security of their projects in Pakistan, Prime Minister Imran Khan ensured the country’s “all-weather ally” to support and protect its businesses on “priority basis.” In a meeting between Khan and Chinese business delegation led by Chen Yan from Challenge Fashion (Pvt), he said, “We will support Chinese businesses in Pakistan on priority basis, and are grateful to them for their keen interest in accelerating their investment in Special Economic Zones (SEZs)”, reported Geo News. The prime minister directed the authorities concerned to facilitate all Chinese investors, who are setting up industries in Pakistan, on an emergency basis by resolving their issues related to road connectivity and provision of utilities. Khan also said that Pakistan and China haven’t just been connected in past and present, but will remain united through future generations, reported Geo News. “Pakistan and China have been connected not only in the past or present, but will remain united through our future generations also. We appreciate the valuable relationship of the peoples of the two countries,” the Prime Minister maintained. Earlier, a Chinese company had stopped work on the Dasu power project, being carried out in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s Kohistan district, after at least 12 people, including nine Chinese workers, were killed on July 14 when a bus carrying them fell into a ravine following an explosion due to a suicide attack, Geo News reported. Earlier, the PM was informed that Chinese businessmen are almost ready to start operations in glass, ceramics and information technology sectors. Meanwhile, Sergio Restelli in Times of Israel said that cracks seem to have surfaced in the ‘higher than mountains’, ‘deeper than oceans’, between Pakistan and China, despite both the countries tout their friendship as unprecedented but the situation on the ground depicts it otherwise. “The 62-billion-dollar economic corridor (CPEC) from Kashgar in Xinjiang to Gwadar on the Arabian coast, has been hailed as people of Pakistan thought it would bring prosperity and riches for them. But now, it seems the CPEC is turning out to be an albatross around Pakistan’s neck. Since the day the deal was signed, questions have been raised about issues like lack of transparency, hidden terms and conditions of the loans offered, influx of Chinese labourers in Pakistan, mounting debt,” Sergio said in The Times of Israel. The local populace in Pakistan also has been contesting such Chinese-led investment-oriented development strategies. Concerns about debt traps, lack of transparency, aggressive diplomacy, and friction due to excessive use of Chinese labour have often resulted in discord at the local level.
Islamabad [Pakistan] : Pakistan recorded 313 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the past 24 hours, taking the total tally to 1,281,872, the National Command and Operation Center (NCOC) said on Sunday. A total of 28,659 people have died from COVID-19 in Pakistan, including four new deaths, Xinhua reported citing the NCOC. According to the NCOC, over the last 24 hours, 309 more patients have recovered, bringing the total number of recoveries from COVID-19 to 1,230,734 in the Asian country. Pakistan’s southern Sindh province has been the worst hit, with a total of 474,058 cases, followed by eastern Punjab province with 442,422 coronavirus infections, Xinhua reported.
Islamabad [Pakistan]: Refuting allegations that the judiciary is under any pressure from security institutions, Pakistan Chief Justice Gulzar Ahmed on Saturday said that the judiciary in the country never takes dictation from other institutions. Pakistan’s Chief Justice made this comment while responding to remarks made by former president of the country’s Supreme Court Bar Association, Ali Ahmad Kurd, during a conference in Lahore, according to Dawn newspaper. This spat comes as Pakistan has been ranked at 130 out of 139 countries in the World Justice Project’s ‘Rule of Law Index,’ just above Nicaragua and Haiti, and below Nigeria, Ethiopia, and Myanmar. Ahmad Kurd, during a conference, had heavily criticized the judiciary while speaking on the topic of — “Role of Judiciary in Protecting Human Rights and Strengthening Democracy.” “One general is dominating a country of 220 million people. This same general has sent the judiciary down to number 126 [in rankings],” he said, possibly referring to WJP’s Rule of Law Index 2021, on which Pakistan ranks 126th in the category of fundamental rights. There was a “clear and observable division” within the judiciary, said Kurd in his speech. Responding to the former president of the Bar Association, Pakistan CJP Gulzar said he “absolutely did not agree” with the assessment made by the senior lawyer. He refuted the allegation that Pakistani courts are “not free” and that “we are working under someone’s pressure or of the institutions.” “I have not taken the pressure of any institution or listened to any institution. No one tells me or guides me on how to write my verdict. I have never made any decision that I did so on someone else’s saying, nor has anyone had the courage to say anything to me.” Gulzar stressed no one interfered with his work and that he ruled on his cases according to “my understanding and conscience.” “I have never listened, seen, understood or felt anyone’s dictation to me,” he added. Notably, Islamabad High Court Chief Justice Athar Minallah admitted certain arguments made by Kurd. Islamabad HC Chief Justice thanked Kurd, saying that “it is very important for us to know what the bar and what the people think about us.” “Let me assure Mr Ali Ahmad Kurd that no judge who is independent can ever make an excuse that he can be pressurised or influenced. Any such excuse … I’m afraid … is a violation of the oath,” he said.
Dhaka [Bangladesh]: Fakhar Zaman (57) and Mohammad Rizwan (39) starred with the bat as Pakistan defeated Bangladesh by eight wickets and took a 2-0 lead in the three-match T20I series in Dhaka. Chasing 109, Pakistan lost an early wicket as skipper Babar Azam had to depart in the third over. But Fakhar Zaman and Mohammad Rizwan thrashed Bangladesh bowlers at every side of the ground. Later, Mustafizur Rahman dismissed Rizwan in the 16th over but that was too late as Fakhar Zaman ended the game with 11 balls in spare. Earlier, opted to bat, Bangladesh struggled as they lost early wickets and only Najmul Shanto was able to get 40 runs and bring his side to a total of 108/7. For Pakistan, Shaheen Afridi and Shadab Khan were the picks in the bowlers as they scalped two wickets each. Speaking after the game, Pakistan skipper Babar Azam said: “The series win is a team effort. The boys responded well as a unit and we carried forward the momentum (from the WC). Bowlers did really well, especially in the last 10 overs and it always helps when you get wickets in bunches. The plans were executed properly. Don’t think so (that there is an overconfidence in low chases).” “In low-scoring games, there is that tendency but it’s important to remove complacency. Fakhar and Rizwan batted really well and did the job. (On his two poor scores) Yeah, sometimes things don’t go according to plan. Happens in cricket,” he added. Brief scores: Bangladesh: 108/7 (Najmul Shanto 40, Afif Hossain 20; Shaheen Afridi 2-15) vs Pakistan: 109/2 (Fakhar Zaman 57*, Mohammad Rizwan 39; Mustafizur Rahman 1/12).
Gurdaspur (Punjab) [India]: Punjab Pradesh Congress Chief Navjot Singh Sidhu on Saturday expressed his happiness over the reopening of the Kartarpur Sahib Corridor and said that this has been made possible with the efforts of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan. Sidhu made these remarks at a press conference in Punjab’s Gurdaspur after returning from his visit to Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Kartarpur in Pakistan. Sidhu said, “The reopening of Kartarpur Sahib Corridor has been made possible with the efforts of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan. “I request that if you want to change lives in Punjab, we should open the borders (for cross-border trade). Why should we go through Mundra Port, a total of 2,100 km? Why not from here, where it’s only 21 km (to Pakistan),” he added. His visit came after a fresh tussle erupted in Punjab Congress following the exclusion of Sidhu’s name from Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi-led delegation comprising state cabinet ministers that visited the Kartarpur Sahib on Thursday. The Kartarpur Corridor, which links Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Pakistan, the final resting place of Sikhism founder Guru Nanak Dev, to Dera Baba Nanak shrine in Gurdaspur district, reopened on Wednesday. It was closed in wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. The visa-free 4.7-kilometre long corridor joins the Indian border to Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Pakistan. It became operational in 2019. Earlier, Imran Khan government of Pakistan praised cricketer-turned-politician Navjot Singh Sidhu for his role in the opening of the corridor to Sikh pilgrimage site Kartarpur Sahib between the two countries. The relationship between Imran Khan and Sidhu came to the limelight in 2018 when the latter attended the oath-taking ceremony of Pakistan PM.
New Delhi [India]: Punjab Congress chief Navjot Singh Sidhu on Saturday stirred controversy after he ostensibly referred to Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan is his “elder brother.” In a video shared by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Amit Malviya, Sidhu is seen being welcomed by a Pakistan official on behalf of Imran Khan. “He (Imran Khan) is my elder brother,” Sidhu is heard as saying. Amit Malviya attacked Congress leader Rahul Gandhi over Sidhu’s remarks. “Rahul Gandhi’s favourite Navjot Singh Sidhu calls Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan his “bada bhai”. Last time he had hugged Gen Bajwa, Pakistan Army’s Chief, heaped praises. Is it any surprise that the Gandhi siblings chose a Pakistan loving Sidhu over veteran Amarinder Singh?” Malviya said in a tweet. Congress MP Manish Tewari expressed his strong reservations over Sidhu’s remarks and said Imran Khan is “cat’s paw of Pakistani deep state ISI-Military combine” which carries out cross-border terrorism against India. “Imran Khan may be anybody’s elder brother but for India he is that cat’s paw of Pak Deep State ISI-Military combine that drones arms and narcotics into Punjab and sends terrorists on a daily basis across LOC in Jammu and Kashmir. Have we forgotten martyrdom of our soldiers in Poonch so soon?” Tewari tweeted. Punjab Minister Pargat Singh came in support of Sidhu and said that if Prime Minister visits Pakistan, then he called “Desh Premi (Country lover)” but Sidhu is being called “Desh drohi (anti-national).” “When PM Modi goes (to Pakistan) he is a ‘Desh Premi’, when Sidhu goes, he is ‘Desh Drohi’…Can’t I call you a brother.. We follow Guru Nanak Dev’s philosophy,” the Punjab Minister told ANI. At a press conference later, Sidhu did not give a direct answer to a question about BJP’s allegations concerning his purported remarks about Imran Khan. “Let BJP say whatever they want,” he said. Sidhu went to Darbar Sahib Gurdwara in Pakistan through the Kartarpur Corridor which was reopened earlier this week ahead of Parkash Purab of Guru Nanak Dev. He expressed happiness over its reopening and credited it to the efforts of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Pakistan PM Imran Khan. “With the efforts of PM Narendra Modi and Pakistan PM Imran Khan, this has been made possible,” Sidhu said. His visit came after a fresh tussle erupted in Punjab Congress following the exclusion of Sidhu’s name from Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi-led delegation comprising state cabinet ministers that visited the Kartarpur Sahib on Thursday. The Kartarpur Corridor links Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Pakistan, the final resting place of Sikhism founder Guru Nanak Dev, to Dera Baba Nanak shrine in Gurdaspur district. The corridor, which was opened in 2019, was closed in wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Sidhu had attended oath-taking ceremony of Imran Khan in 2018 and his hugging General Bajwa had created a major controversy.
Islamabad [Pakistan]: Amid rising criticism of Imran Khan’s government for holding talks with terrorist groups, the Pakistani security sources said that any peace deal with the Pakistani Taliban would be reached on the government terms and conditions. “The Afghan Taliban government was in contact with the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) in connection with a peace deal but there is no time-frame. It may take months or years,” the sources while requesting not to be named said there could be a deal with the TTP but only if they abide by Pakistan’s Constitution and law. The sources quashed the reports that there was no truth in speculations that the Pakistani government had decided giving amnesty to the TTP leaders and members, Dawn reported. This is rubbish, no amnesty for them. They are terrorist groups and any progress will be made on our terms and conditions,” the sources maintained. The official said the state has a choice as they TTP are shaken badly, adding that the Pakistani government was testing their seriousness to strike deal and accept its terms and conditions. Pakistan government and the TTP have agreed on a complete ceasefire. The Taliban dispensation’s Acting Interior Minister Sirajuddin Haqqani hosted talks between the two sides for the past two weeks in the southeastern province of Khost, reported Tolo News. TTP has been active in several parts of Pakistan since 2007 and is responsible for carrying out several attacks and blasts in the country. Last month, Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan revealed that Pakistan had begun negotiations with the TTP after the Taliban takeover of Kabul in August. Early this month, Pakistani Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry confirmed that a monthlong ceasefire agreement had been reached between the TTP and the Pakistani government, an apparent result of the talks Afghan Minister Muttaqi referenced on Sunday.
Mirpur [Bangladesh]: Pakistan on Friday held their nerve to beat Bangladesh by 4-wicket as the visitors took a 1-0 lead in the three-match T20I series in Mirpur. Chasing 128 for the win, Pakistan wasn’t looking in a great position as the score read 24/4 inside the Powerplay. But Fakhar Zaman and Khushdil Shah then steadied the ship for the visitors with a 56-run stand. Shadab Khan and Mohammad Nawaz eventually finished the game off in style with a stunning 36-run partnership off just 15 balls as a valiant effort from the Bangladesh bowlers went in vain. Earlier, Bangladesh too struggled but Afif Hossain, Nurul Hasan, and Mahedi Hasan helped them post a respectable 127/7 in their 20 overs. Hasan Ali was the star with the ball for Pakistan as he picked three wickets. Speaking after the game, Pakistan skipper Babar Azam said: “Wicket was a little difficult. Credit to the middle order, the way they showed the skills. Fakhar, Khushdil, the way Nawaz finished. Gave away 15-20 more runs. But this is cricket, happens in T20. Credit to the bowlers the way they bowled.” Man of the Match Hasan Ali said: “Pleasant moment for me to win this award. My performance wasn’t upto the mark in the WC. As a professional player, ups and downs will come. I have been here in BPL. Normally it’s a slow pitch, as much as you can bowl into the stumps with variations, you’ll find success.” Bangladesh skipper Mahmudullah said: “When we chose to bat, it looked a good wicket. But there was help for the bowlers as well. It’s not an excuse. Should’ve put on a better performance with the bat, especially top of the order. Was lacking in the World Cup as well. Would’ve been better if we got up to 140. But with 127, if you can get a couple of early wickets… Bowlers did a great job. We were very close. In the end, credit goes to the last two batters. Nawaz and Shadab batted really well for them.” Brief Scores: Bangladesh: 127/7 (Afif Hossain 36, Mahedi Hasan 30*; Hasan Ali 3-22, Mohammad Wasim Jr 2-24) vs Pakistan 132/6 ( Khushdil Shah 34, Fakhar Zaman 34; Taskin Ahmed 2-31, Mahedi Hasan 1-17).
Islamabad [Pakistan]: The future of Pakistan seems to be uncertain as during the three years of Pakistan Tareek-e-Insaf (PTI) rule, Prime Minister Imran Khan has failed to deliver on the promises, said an editorial in Pak vernacular media. The editorial called Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan “Pakistan’s Gorbachev” (Russian leader who saw the break-up of the Soviet Union in the late 1980s). People had always seen Gorbachev as a leader who could bring much-needed reforms but saw all those expectations crashing one after another, the article said. Calling the Prime Minister a “big talker” and a “leader who has failed to deliver”, the article said Pakistan is in a similar situation today as Russia in the 1980s, because “Imran Khan is continuously failing to fulfil the hopes of the people of Pakistan.” The world does not seem to be trusting Pakistan and as and when our leaders go abroad, they are searched naked (at international airports where they land), the article in the Pakistani publication noted. “When Imran Khan came into power, he talked about things like Madina state, New Pakistan, corruption-free Pakistan, but what followed is in front of the people of Pakistan,” the article said. The leader remained present only on seven parliament sessions out of 79 that took place, it noted. “Imran Khan’s such negligible presence at parliament sessions and his reluctance to address questions from the opposition shows also exposes the hollowness of his claim, that he is democratic at heart,” the article in Pakistan’s vernacular media reported. In the recent developments, opposition parties have also slammed the Imran Khan-led government for convening a joint session of parliament without holding talks to evolve consensus on electoral reforms. Senators belonging to the joint opposition staged a walkout from the house as a mark of protest against Khan’s government for buying time in the name of efforts to build consensus to win back the support of its estranged allies (PML-Q) of having plans to bulldoze all controversial bills in the special sitting of parliament, reported Dawn.